Rider University and Westminster Choir College have announced this year’s commencement honorary degree recipients.
At its 149th Commencement ceremonies on the Lawrenceville campus, Rider will honor two distinguished members of its alumni family. The first is Joan C. Mazzotti ’72, executive director of Philadelphia Futures, who will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters. The second is Howard Stoeckel ’67, vice chairman of the Board of Directors of Wawa, Inc., who will receive an honorary doctor of laws.
In 2000, after serving as chief legal counsel of ARAMARK’s Food Group, Mazzotti became the executive director of Philadelphia Futures, a nonprofit organization that helps first-generation urban students attend college. Since its inception, it has helped more than 1,000 low income students attending high school in Philadelphia enroll and succeed in college.
Mazzotti served as chairwoman of the Rider University Board of Trustees from 1998 to 2002, and was a Trustee from 1996 to 2005. In 2006, Mazzotti, along with her husband, Michael Kelly, established the Mazzotti Awards in Women’s Leadership to provide leadership development opportunities for Rider’s women faculty and administrators.
Mazzotti earned her law degree from Villanova University, School of Law and her bachelor’s degree in political science from Rider.
For eight years, through 2012, Stoeckel served as Wawa’s CEO, the first person outside of the company’s founding family to hold the position. Under Stoeckel’s leadership, Wawa grew rapidly, operating nearly 600 stores in six states while producing the highest volume per unit of any convenience store chain in the country.
Stoeckel served as chairman of the Rider University Board of Trustees from 2008 to 2012, and has been a Trustee since 2005.
Stoeckel earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Rider and recently authored a book, “The Wawa Way: How a Funny Name and Six Core Values Revolutionized Convenience.”
During the Westminster Choir College ceremonies, Clive Gillinson and Joseph Flummerfelt, two highly acclaimed leaders in the arts community, will be awarded honorary doctorates.
Gillinson, who will also deliver the commencement address, is executive and artistic director of Carnegie Hall. He is responsible for developing the artistic concepts for Carnegie Hall presentations in its three halls, representing approximately 180 performances each season. Highly regarded for his commitment to the belief that the arts should be central to society and accessible to all, he has led Carnegie Hall in a bold new direction in its concert and education programming.
Flummerfelt earned international recognition as Westminster Choir College’s director of choral activities and conductor of the Westminster Choir for 33 years. He retired in 2004, but continues as an emeritus member of the Westminster faculty and conductor laureate. Musical America’s 2004 Conductor of the Year, he also served as artistic director for choral activities for the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, from 1971 to 1993 and the Spoleto Festival USA from 1977 until 2013.
Rider’s Graduate and College of Continuing Studies Commencement ceremony will be held on the Lawrenceville campus on Thursday, May 15, at 5 p.m. The Undergraduate Commencement ceremony will take place on Friday, May 16, at 9:30 a.m. on the Lawrenceville campus. Westminster Choir College’s Commencement ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 17, at 10:30 a.m. in the Princeton University Chapel.
Further information about all three Commencement ceremonies can be found at www.rider.edu/commencement.