2019 Honorary Degree Recipients

Honorary degree recipients are recognized for promoting Merrimack values and for their significant contributions to developing and educating the next generation of leaders.

Jeffrey J. Selingo

Honorary Doctor of Education

Jeffrey J Selingo

Jeffrey J. Selingo has written about higher education for two decades. He is the author of three books, the most recent of which, “There Is Life After College,” is a New York Times bestseller. Named one of LinkedIn’s “must-know influencers” of 2016, Jeff is a contributing writer at the Washington Post and The Atlantic, and a special advisor at Arizona State University, where he is the founding director of the Academy for Innovative Higher Education Leadership, a partnership between ASU and Georgetown University. He is also a visiting scholar at Georgia Tech’s Center for 21st Century Universities. He is the former top editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education, where he worked for 16 years in a variety of reporting and editing roles. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ithaca College, where he is now a trustee, and a master’s degree in government from Johns Hopkins University.


Deborah C. Jackson

Honorary Doctor of Public Service

Deborah C Jackson

Deborah C. Jackson is the fourth president of Cambridge College, bringing to the institution over 30 years of leadership expertise across a number of Boston’s leading institutions. She had previously served for nearly a decade as CEO of the American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts. Prior to that, she was vice president of the Boston Foundation; senior vice president at Boston Children’s Hospital; and president and CEO of Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries. She has served on the Boston Green Ribbon Commission; the Mayor’s Task Force to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care; the “City to City” program focusing on national and global best practices for urban policies; the American Red Cross National Diversity Advisory Council; Eastern Bank; and the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University, attended MIT for graduate studies and was a Fellow at Harvard University’s Advanced Leadership Program.


Laurence J. Palmisano

Honorary Doctor of Engineering

Laurence J Palmisano

Laurence J. Palmisano ’57 P’82,’85,’87, ’87, ’90 GP’16 is a graduate of the civil engineering program and chairman of Construction Planning & Management Inc., a property management and development company based in southern New Hampshire. He also serves as president of Palmer Asset Management LLC. Patriarch of three generations of Merrimack alumni, he grew up in Lawrence and is a product of Catholic education. He was married to the late Roberta “Bobbi” Palmisano for 57 years. His dedication to Merrimack has spanned generations as a former trustee, supporter of scholarships including the Gold Key program, regular participant in the President’s Cup Golf Classic and chairman of the building campaign for the fundraising, design and construction of the building that has been housing the School of Science and Engineering since 1992. In 1986 he received the St. Augustine Award for his service to the college. He is also a major donor and volunteer for Central Catholic High School.