Board Chairman, Area Priest to Receive Honorary Degrees from Merrimack College

Jack Boyce, chair of Merrimack College’s Board of Trustees and member of the Class of 1981, and Father Nicholas A. Sannella, J.D., M.D., will be recognized on Friday, May 19, during the College’s Baccalaureate Mass and Conferral of Degrees ceremony.
Photo of Jack Boyce and Father Nicholas A. Sannella, J.D., M.D.
Father Nicholas A. Sannella, J.D., M.D., left, and Jack Boyce are the recipients of Merrimack College's 2023 2023 Honorary Degree.

Merrimack College is pleased to announce the 2023 Honorary Degree recipients for its 73rd Commencement exercises. The recipients will be recognized for their significant contributions to the College and the greater community, in addition to their exceptional stewardship of Merrimack’s values.

Merrimack will bestow an honorary doctorate of business administration on Jack Boyce ’81, chair of the College’s Board of Trustees, and an honorary doctorate of health sciences on the Rev. Nicholas A. Sannella, J.D., M.D., pastor of the Lowell Collaborative of the Archdiocese of Boston.

“We are honored to recognize Chairman Boyce and Fr. Sannella as part of this year’s Commencement,” said Merrimack College President Christopher E. Hopey, Ph.D. “Throughout their personal and professional lives they have personified the Merrimack mission of enlightening minds, engaging hearts and empowering lives.” 

“Chairman Boyce is a titan of business and has been a valued member of the Merrimack community for more than 40 years,” Hopey continued. “Through his support and leadership he has helped the College achieve its transformative successes. Fr. Sannella has demonstrated compassion and dedication across medicine, law and religious life and stands as a model of working for the betterment of humankind for our graduating students.”

Commencement Weekend 2023 at Merrimack College marks a new era in the celebration of graduates, one worthy of the institution’s growing prestige and transformation. More than 1,250 students across the College’s undergraduate and graduate programs will graduate.

On Friday, May 19, the College will hold Baccalaureate Mass and Conferral of Degrees at 4:30 p.m. at Duane Stadium, where Boyce and Fr. Sannella will receive their honorary degrees. 

Then throughout the day on Saturday, May 20, there will be three School-Based Degree Recognition ceremonies, which will feature three keynote speakers.

Boyce will address the Girard School of Business and the School of Science and Engineering graduates at 9 a.m., and Fr. Sannella will speak at the third ceremony, addressing the graduates of the School of Liberal Arts and the School of Nursing and Health Sciences at 5:30 p.m. Additionally, Stacey Ciprich, principal of Abbott Lawrence Academy who received an honorary doctorate of education from Merrimack College in 2022, will address the graduates of the Winston School of Education and Social Policy at 1:30 p.m.

Jack Boyce ’81

Jack Boyce chairs the Board of Trustees of Merrimack College and has served on the Board for nine years. An investment industry leader for 40 years, Jack has had responsibility for the commercial activities of Insight Investment in North America for the past five years.

Prior to Insight, Jack spent six years at Aberdeen Standard as Head North America Distribution where he was responsible for building the brand and the region’s institutional business development activities. 

Earlier in his career, Jack led global investment activities at American International Group/PineBridge Investments, General Electric Asset Management as well as U.S. business development for Diversified Investment Advisors/Aegon.

He is also a past board member of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Jack received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Merrimack College in 1981. He holds his FINRA Series 7, 63 and 24 licenses. He resides in Ridgefield, CT with his wife, Maryann Testa Boyce ’81. Jack and Maryann have two daughters, Lauren G. (Boyce) Koury and Sarah M. Boyce.

The Rev. Nicholas A. Sannella, J.D., M.D.

The Rev. Nicholas A. Sannella graduated from Boston College in 1967, attended Tufts University School of Medicine and trained in vascular surgery at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Boston and Stanford University Medical Center.

Returning to Massachusetts, he chose to practice in Lowell and Lawrence, underserved areas in his specialty. He was chief of surgery at Lawrence General Hospital, president of the medical staff at Saints Medical Center in Lowell and vice president of the New England Society of Vascular Surgery. Involvement in hospital and medical staff governance, as well as patient care issues, led to a juris doctorate from Suffolk University. 

In 1999 he entered Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts and was ordained in 2003. Today, he is pastor of the Immaculate Conception Church, Saint Anthony’s Church and Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity, which make up the Lowell Collaborative of the Archdiocese of Boston.

He has served as a trustee of St. John’s Hospital and Saints Memorial Medical Center, both in Lowell, and Boston College. He has also served as a medical officer in the United States Air Force Reserve.



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