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Squires returns to SMC to address graduates

Nicole Zook | Friday, May 13, 2005

Not for the first time, graduating Saint Mary’s seniors will hear words of wisdom from a fellow Belle during commencement.

Honorary degree recipient Janet Endress Squ-ires, a physician and 1972 graduate of the College, will deliver the 2005 commencement address tomorrow. Squires joins a list of notable Saint Mary’s women who have returned to their alma mater to give such a speech, including author and 2003 speaker Adriana Trigiani and last year’s speaker, Xerox Vice President Diane Daly McGarry.

Commencement Committee Chair Susan Dampeer, said Squires was chosen following a nearly year-long selection process.

“We send out requests for names, and they are solicited from the Board of Trustees, faculty and staff and students,” she said. “That’s the first step. Then the president’s office reviews [candidates] and verifies their credentials.”

Verified candidates are referred to the College’s academic affairs council, trusteeship council of the Board of Trustees and then the full Board for further review.

Any names approved are added to a list of potential speakers for the year. However, this does not necessarily ensure an honorary degree. Names on the list remain active for up to five years, and award recipients are selected yearly by the College’s president.

Dampeer said Squires was “recommended many times” for her deep commitment to education and remains a “really prominent woman” and alum of the College.

Marketing Communications Director Nick Farmer said he believes Squires is an excellent choice for graduation speaker and will greatly add to the ceremony.

“Saint Mary’s is proud to welcome Dr. Squires back to campus,” he said. “She’s a prominent physician, an educator and a strong voice for children, and I think she’ll offer an inspiring message to the Class of 2005.”

Squires is the director of the division of child advocacy for the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and a professor of pediatric medicine at the Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

She has been recognized nationally for her work with abused children and children with HIV after serving as director of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center’s pediatric HIV clinic, program for Referral and Evaluation of Abused Children (REACH) and division chief of the University’s General Academic Pediatrics.