Holy Family University will present two honorary degrees during its 2017 Commencement Ceremony, held on Tuesday, May 9 at the Kimmel Center. The Honorable Michael G. Fitzpatrick, former Congressman of Pennsylvania’s 8th District, and Kathryn Ott Lovell, Commissioner of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation have been selected as this year’s recipients. Fitzpatrick will receive his honorary degree during the graduate ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Lovell will receive her honorary degree during the undergraduate ceremony at 12:30 p.m.
The Honorable Michael G. Fitzpatrick, former Congressman of Pennsylvania’s 8th District
The Honorable Michael G. Fitzpatrick was elected to Congress from the eighth district of Pennsylvania and served from 2005-2007 and 2011-2017. During his time in Washington, DC, he was known as one of the most bipartisan members of Congress. As a lifelong, loyal public servant, he has always vowed to put people before politics.
As Chair of the House Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing, he analyzed the methods employed by terrorist groups to finance their plots. Under his leadership, the task force produced a comprehensive report that will now be used to guide lawmakers towards combatting terrorism financing. He also sought medical device reform in Congress. Upon learning that certain medical devices were faulty and potentially causing patients harm, he aimed to heighten awareness and have these devices banned by the Food and Drug Administration.
Congressman Fitzpatrick has steadfastly advocated for the rights of the unborn. His dedication to the pro-life movement has not wavered, which speaks to his strong moral character and devotion to his Catholic faith. Congressman Fitzpatrick’s strong character is also evidenced by his pledge to serve a maximum of four terms of office. Recognizing that the political system is set up to reward career politicians and make it difficult for others to be given a chance, he called for term limits for all. As a man of honor and commitment, he lived up to his promise and retired from Congress upon the completion of his fourth term in early 2017.
Prior to his service in Washington, DC, Congressman Fitzpatrick was Bucks County Commissioner for 10 years, five of which he was chair. In this position, he established the county’s first Enterprise Zone, which created thousands of new jobs, and promoted open space and land preservation projects. He has served as officer and director of several non-profit organizations, including Lower Bucks Hospital, Bucks County Housing Development Corporation, Bucks County Council Boy Scouts of America, and Self Help Movement. He is a board member of the Heritage Conservancy, Washington Crossing Council, Boy Scouts of America, and Conwell-Egan Catholic High School.
Congressman Fitzpatrick lives in Levittown, Pennsylvania with his wife, Kathy, and their six children.
Mrs. Fitzpatrick is a proud alumna of Holy Family University.
Holy Family is pleased to honor Michael G. Fitzpatrick for his leadership, public service, strong convictions, and sense of responsibility to his family, his faith, and his community.
Kathryn Ott Lovell, BA, Commissioner of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation
Kathryn Ott Lovell serves as the Commissioner of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, where she leads more than 700 employees and oversees the city’s parkland, playgrounds, recreation centers, trails, and thousands of programs and events. She is credited with the recent “Civic Commons” initiative, a program underway to re-imagine the city’s vast and beloved parks as destinations where residents can gather and connect with their community in a meaningful way.
Under Ott Lovell’s leadership, the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department will experience a drastic transformation through the city’s “Rebuilding Community Infrastructure” project or “Rebuild.” Rebuild is a massive effort to invest nearly half a billion dollars over the next six years to improve the city’s civic assets. As a private- and public-funded venture, the project intends to use the city’s public spaces as a way to promote social connectivity, elevate community engagement, and bring equity to some of the city’s most underserved neighborhoods.
Ott Lovell helped lead a successful campaign to save her alma mater, St. Hubert Catholic High School for Girls. When the school was at risk of closure in 2012, she galvanized grassroots support, raising enough local funds to keep the school open. Because of the continued support from Ott Lovell and others dedicated to the cause, St. Hubert is thriving and continues to educate the young female leaders of tomorrow.
Prior to her appointment as Commissioner, Ott Lovell served as the Executive Director of the Fairmount Park Conservancy, heightening its visibility while re-directing its strategic vision by developing new programs, executing high-profile projects, and securing funding from local and national sources for major new initiatives. She increased its budget by more than 500% in her first four years and grew the staff from three to 24 members. Before the Conservancy, Ott Lovell served as Chief Advancement Officer for the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program for six years, guiding the organization towards significant growth and visibility.
Ott Lovell currently serves as Chair of the Board of St. Francis de Sales School. She is also on the Board of Directors for the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, the Free Library of Philadelphia, Please Touch Museum, the Schuylkill River Development Corporation and the Philadelphia Sports Congress. She lives in West Philadelphia with her husband, Andrew, and two daughters, Lucy and Johanna.
Holy Family is proud to recognize Kathryn Ott Lovell for her extraordinary community leadership and lifelong service and dedication to civic, cultural, and charitable organizations.