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2023 Speaker & Honorary Degree Recipients

An honorary degree is one of higher education’s most significant accolades. It is the custom of Cambridge College to award honorary degrees to distinguished individuals who merit special recognition for achievement and distinction in a field or activity aligned with the mission and values of the College. In accordance with Board of Trustees procedures, the following individuals have been reviewed by the Board’s Academic Affairs Committee for Doctorates of Humane Letters, and they are submitted for formal ratification prior to the Commencement Exercises on June 11, 2023.

Commencement Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipients

Imari K. Paris Jeffries

2023 Commencement Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipient

Executive Director
Embrace Boston

Imari Paris-Jeffries

Imari Paris Jeffries is executive director of Embrace Boston where he is leading a citywide racial equity transformation through The Embrace memorial, the Embrace Center, and community organizing efforts.


In 2020 Imari joined Embrace Boston (former known as King Boston), a privately funded non-profit working closely with the City of Boston and The Boston Foundation, to create a living memorial and programs honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King and their work in Boston.  Imari successfully raised $20 million to build the Embrace monument which was unveiled in January 2023 ahead of the national holiday honoring the civil rights icon and his wife.

In addition to the memorial, Embrace Boston has expanded its initiatives to include an annual Ideas Festival, expanded research and policy agenda for the first ever “Boston Harm Report”, which will serve as an educational handbook for legislators and other stakeholders, as well as a starting point for community conversation around reparations to atone for the historical and ongoing disenfranchisement of Black people in Boston, and the development of The Embrace Center, a public cultural hub and anchor for the Black community to include exhibitions, workspace and commercial spaces for lease by Black-owned eateries and entrepreneurs, and expanded 

When Imari joined King Boston, he immediately began to deliver on his goals by gifting $1 million to Twelfth Baptist Church the largest gift they ever received.  That donation helped to further the church’s mission in affordable housing, speaker programs, feeding the hungry, and church renovations. 

Paris Jeffries has a wealth of experience in the nonprofit management, racial equity, community activism, education reform, and social justice sectors and currently serves as a trustee of the University of Massachusetts (UMass) System, Mass Humanities, Mass Budget, Policy Center, and Governor Baker’s Black Advisory Commission.  Previously, he was the executive director of Parenting Journey, CEO of the Italian Home for Children, COO of Jumpstart, interim CEO of Boston Rising, and Executive Director of Friends of the Children-Boston.  Mr. Paris Jeffries has supplemented his work with volunteer service on several boards, including Jumpstart, the African American Federation of Greater Boston, Save the Harbor, Save the Bay, the Elizabeth Peabody House, and the Massachusetts Mentoring Partnership.  

He was recently named one of Boston’s Most Influential Bostonians by Boston Magazine and the Boston Business Journal’s Power 50.  A three-time graduate of UMass Boston, Paris Jeffries recently received his Ph.D. through UMass Boston’s Higher Education Program. He is also an Army veteran, serving from 1991 to 1996.



Steven Ó Broin

Student Commencement Speaker

Bachelor of Science, School of Undergraduate Studies
Representing undergraduate students in the class of 2023

Steven Ó Broin

Steven Ó Broin is from Dublin, Ireland, and has lived in Massachusetts for 21 years. Steven trained at the prestigious National Theatre School of Ireland in Dublin, from which he graduated in 1995. He was an active Irish Dancer since the age of four, and as an adult, he joined the original cast of “Riverdance The Show,” dancing with them from Dublin to London to Radio City Music Hall in New York City. After touring Europe with the “Gaelforce Dance” show, Steven hung up his shoes in 2001 and emigrated to Boston in 2002. Steven still works as a professional actor today in theatre, television, and film. He is one of the founding members of “Here Comes Everybody” Irish Theatre Company in Boston. 

His background in multi-generational skilled union labor has taught him a thing or two about equity, tenacity, and community. He then became injured working as a union plumber in Boston and re-educated at Quincy College, where he earned an associate’s degree in Exercise Science. He has been working as a certified personal trainer since 2017 and now runs a gym for people with disabilities and traumatic injuries. 

Steven will graduate summa cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Wellness & Health Promotion from Cambridge College. He plans to integrate his interest in urban planning with Wellness and Health Promotion to work to develop “well cities.”  His vision is to increase wellness at the city level to promote healthier, more sustainable, and equitable communities. 

Steven lives in Whitman with his wife, three kids, and his new puppy, Merlin.



Dynellia Shanta Washington

Student Commencement Speaker

Master of Science, Cambridge College Global
Representing graduate students in the class of 2023

Dynellia Shanta-Washington

Dynellia Washington grew up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Her tenacity to educate holds true as Mrs. Washington continues to teach, inspire, change lives, and push students to their full potential. Growing up with a mother who worked in the insurance industry and a father and step-father who were both military men gave her the passion and knowledge to set her own path and save for her future. She studied Art at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and the Art Institute of Atlanta, earning her degree in Visual Communications, then taught in her discipline for over nine years. She then left to begin a new career path within the world of finance. 

Mrs. Washington recently earned a baccalaureate degree in Business Administration and a Masters’s Degree in Healthcare Management from Cambridge College Global. She also plans to continue her educational career, beginning the doctoral program in the fall of 2023, where she will earn a doctorate in Quality Systems and Improvement Management. She was nominated to the National Society of Leadership and Success for her commitment to leadership to make the world a better place for all.

Mrs. Washington is currently the Business Department Chair for York Catholic Middle and High School and the Financial Literacy Coordinator for Tenfold. Mrs. Washington plans on doing several speaking engagements soon to continue her work on educating her community about the importance of financial literacy.



Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, Esq.

Honorary Degree Recipient

Executive Director, Lawyers for Civil Rights
Representing graduate students in the class of 2023

Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, Esq.

Iván Espinoza-Madrigal is the Executive Director of Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR) in Boston, an organization founded at the request of President John F. Kennedy in the 1960s at the height of the Civil Rights Movement. LCR is one of the largest and oldest organizations in New England working on legal and policy issues at the intersection of racial justice, immigration, public health, and entrepreneurship.

Best known for his work on immigration, education, housing, voting, LGBTQ+ rights, public health, and entrepreneurship, Iván has 18 years of experience in complex federal and appellate litigation. He has represented a wide range of clients as both plaintiffs and defendants in the corporate and non-profit sectors.

Iván is an expert in legal protections for people of color and immigrants. He has filed and won dozens of life-changing and law-changing cases across the country. He advises federal, state and local policymakers on the legal needs of marginalized communities. His work is regularly featured in publications such as the New York Times.

Since 2020 LCR has been a partner with Cambridge College to provide professional development workshops to support small business development in underrepresented communities throughout the Commonwealth.

Early in his career, Iván worked as an associate at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, LLP, where he focused on securities litigation for corporate clients in New York. He also served as a Fried Frank Fellow with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), where he focused on a wide-range of civil rights cases in San Antonio, Texas.

At a pivotal time in the movement for LGBTQ+ equality, Iván joined Lambda Legal to work on marriage equality cases and with LGBTQ+ people of color. He also served as the Legal Director of the Center for HIV Law and Policy, focusing on the legal needs of people living with HIV.

Espinoza-Madrigal has been cited for numerous awards and honors. He has been named among the Top 40 Under 40 by Boston Business Journal, one of Boston’s Most Influential People of Color, one of Massachusetts’ 100 Most Influential People for the Latino Community and one of the Top 100 Influencers: Rising Stars Across the Nation by the Business Journals. He has received awards from the Boston Bar Association, the University of Pennsylvania, Centro Presente, Brazilian Workers’ Center, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Queens Pride House, NYU School of Law, and the National LGBT Bar Association. Espinoza-Madrigal was profiled as an “Emerging Leader Fighting For Justice” by the Boston Business Journal.

A summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he received a Juris Doctor from NYU School of Law, where he was a Root-Tilden-Kern Scholar. Iván clerked for Judge Ronald Ellis in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and Judge Eric Clay in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Detroit, Michigan.

Iván currently serves on the Board of Ambassadors of Eastern Bank, the Board of Directors of the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), and the Board of Trustees of Crossroads, a youth empowerment summer camp.