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Commencement speaker Anne McCaffrey addresses graduates on May 12 and 13

Published February 24, 2023

Anne McCaffrey ’89, a civic leader and changemaker in western New York health care, will be Nazareth’s Commencement speaker on May 12 and 13, 2023. Nazareth will honor this accomplished alumna and board of trustees member with a doctor of humane letters at Commencement.

McCaffrey was recently named the chief executive officer of People Inc., one of western New York’s largest nonprofits with more than 4,000 employees. People Inc. serves more than 12,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, families, and older adults throughout western New York and Rochester. She takes over the role on March 20, 2023.

She was elected to the school board and common council in Lockport, New York, and was the Lockport mayor from 2014 to 2018. While mayor, she led a reform of the city’s ethics policies and led the city out of fiscal distress.

In 2018, she was named president and CEO of Eastern Niagara Hospital in Lockport, where she facilitated a successful restructuring and transaction with Catholic Health to keep hospital services in Niagara County. Before that, she spent 19 years in various positions at Lake Shore Behavioral Health, now BestSelf Behavioral Health, an outpatient mental health and substance abuse provider in Buffalo. There she led a successful effort to secure funding for the construction and development of Harambee House, Buffalo’s first “safe haven” residence for 12 homeless individuals with serious mentally illness.

She is a member of the New York state Legislative Ethics Commission.

McCaffrey received a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in French from Nazareth and went on to obtain a master’s degree in public policy analysis from the University of Rochester, with a concentration in health policy.

McCaffrey has served on several non-profit boards of directors and is a member of local service clubs, including Rotary and Zonta. She has received numerous awards, including Elected Official of the Year from the WNY American Public Works Association, Woman in Public Service Award from YWCA of Niagara, Buffalo Business First - Power 100 Women, DeSales Catholic High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame, and a key to the City of Lockport.

She is married to Chris McCaffrey ’87 — whom she met on her first day at Nazareth in 1985 — and they have three children.

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Nazareth University is an inclusive community of inspired learners, educators, and changemakers who for nearly 100 years have been driven by a bold commitment to action, empathy, equity, and leading innovation for the common good. Impact experiences are at the heart of a Nazareth education, preparing each student to discover within themselves the potential to cultivate positive change in their life's work, in any career field, and in a world that is constantly evolving and infinitely interconnected.

Our broad academic offerings present a range of study options typical of larger universities, yet achieved in our supportive campus culture. Nearly 2,100 undergrad and 600 graduate students enroll in degree and certificate programs and engage in collaborative, transformative learning experiences, preparing for the professions and society of today and tomorrow. In a learning community that purposefully integrates liberal arts and professional programs, Nazareth University graduates are able to launch a lifetime of impactful leadership in communities and workplaces near and far.