Mary Louise McDonald to be Keynote Speaker at 2024 Undergraduate Commencement

Apr 9, 2024
Mary Louise McDonald, president of Ireland’s Sinn Fein political party. She is in a green, long-sleeved jacket with a black undershirt. Her hair is brown and cut to chin-length, and she smiles at the camera against a white backdrop.

Mary Louise McDonald.

Mary Louise McDonald, president of Ireland’s Sinn Fein political party and leader of the opposition in the national parliament, will serve as keynote speaker at Westfield State University’s 2024 undergraduate commencement ceremony at noon Friday, May 17, at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. 

McDonald is the teachta dala (member of parliament) for the Dublin Central constituency in Ireland’s capital and has been the leader of Sinn Fein since February 2018. 

In the Oireachtas, Ireland’s parliament, McDonald has served on committees for public expenditure and reform, and on the future of mental health. 

She was previously a representative of Ireland in the European Parliament, where she served on committees for employment, social affairs, and civil liberties. 

WSU President Linda Thompson commented, “President McDonald’s practice of supporting and encouraging social justice, democracy, equity, fairness, and inclusion are not unlike the principles of Horace Mann, the founder of our institution. President McDonald has demonstrated her belief in the quality and importance of higher education and her devotion to lifelong learning and volunteer service will complement our commencement ceremony. We all look forward to her visit and her presentation to our campus community.” 

McDonald received a bachelor’s degree in English from Trinity College Dublin, and later studied industrial relations at Dublin City University. 

The Sinn Fein president received a master of arts degree in European integration studies from the University of Limerick in Ireland.