We are pleased to announce National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy ’72 as the 65th Commencement Speaker, representing the 50th Reunion Class of 1972. The selection of a member of the 50th Reunion Class as Commencement Speaker is a tradition at Fontbonne and a rite of passage from one generation to another. As a native to the Boston area, Gina grew up in Canton and Dorchester and graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Anthropology. She later attended Tufts University and received a Master of Science in Environmental Health Engineering and Planning & Policy.
Ms. McCarthy is the first National Climate Advisor—the president's chief advisor on domestic climate policy—and leads the White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy focused on mobilizing a whole-of-government approach to tackling the climate crisis, creating good paying jobs, and securing environmental justice. Previously, she served as the 13th Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and then as President and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). One of the nation’s most trusted and accomplished voices on climate issues, she has been at the forefront of environmental and public health progress in a variety of leading roles for over three decades.
In her time leading the EPA, McCarthy oversaw successful efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, mitigate air pollution, conserve critical water sources, and safeguard vulnerable communities from chemical hazards. She spearheaded the Obama-Biden Administration’s Clean Power Plan, which set America’s first-ever national standards for lowering carbon emissions from power plants, and helped pave the way for the Paris Climate Agreement. Prior to her role with the NRDC, McCarthy was a professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and currently serves as chair of the board of directors of the Harvard Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment.
Throughout her career, McCarthy has advised five administrations of both Democratic and Republican Massachusetts governors on environmental matters, and she served as Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection prior to being appointed by President Obama to head up the EPA’s Air Office. As EPA administrator, she pursued innovative global collaborations with the United Nations and the World Health Organization, and on global efforts to address pollution.
A proud alumna of Fontbonne, McCarthy will return to the Milton campus on Thursday, May 26 to address the Class of 2022 and their guests at their formal Commencement Exercises. Other members of her Fontbonne Class of 1972 will be in attendance, as well, for what promises to be an inspiring event.