NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- The College of New Rochelle bestowed honorary degrees on legendary N.Y. Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera and scholar and higher education leader Sister Alice Gallin of the Ursuline Sisters during its 107th Commencement on Friday at Radio City Music Hall.
The college also awarded approximately 1,000 bachelor's and master’s degrees to graduates of its four schools.
During the event, alumna Shiba Russell, anchor/reporter, NBC 4 New York conducted a live interview with Rivera and delivered the commencement address, following introductory remarks from college President Judith Huntington.
“We are proud to honor Mariano Rivera and Sister Alice with degrees from The College of New Rochelle. These two honorees, individuals of great generosity, integrity and service to others, are reflections of our mission and the essential element of service,” Huntington said in remarks from the ceremony.
Rivera’s foundation, Refugio de Esperanza (Refuge of Hope), recently renovated an old church in New Rochelle where Clara, his wife, serves as senior pastor. In addition to religious services, the church will offer education, food, an after-school program for youths, and more. Inspired by their childhood challenges with poverty, they established the Mariano Rivera Foundation in 1998, seeking to "share with the community a portion of the blessings God has bestowed on them and their family."
Rivera proved to be a good sport during the conferring of degrees, as many students marching across the stage stopped to shake his hand, give him a hug, or take photos with him.