University News

The Honorable Ilana Kara Diamond Rovner to be Keynote Speaker at University's Graduate and Professional Degree Commencement Ceremony May 20

Published: May 04, 2018 | Categories: All News, Law, Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Alumni
Ilana Kara Diamond Rovner

Western New England University will confer Law, Pharmacy, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees during its 2018 Graduate Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 20 at 2:00 p.m. in the Alumni Healthful Living Center on campus. Degree candidates will receive their diplomas and traditional degree hoods. The Honorable Ilana Kara Diamond Rovner will be this year’s keynote speaker and receive the President’s Medallion Award.

In 1992, Rovner became the first woman appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Previously, she served as a District Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois from 1984 to 1992. In 1977, Rovner become Deputy Governor and legal counsel to Governor James R. Thompson of Illinois. During her time in that office, she wrote the Governor’s Executive Order banning sexual harassment in the workplace and oversaw the creation of the Governor’s Office for Interagency Cooperation and the new Department of Human Rights.

Born in Riga, Latvia, and raised in Philadelphia, she attended Bryn Mawr College and studied law at King’s College-University of London, Georgetown University, and Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Rovner’s husband, Dr. Paul Friedmann, will also be awarded the President’s Medallion. Friedmann has a long and distinguished medical career, including serving as Executive Director of the Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Baystate Health System in Springfield, and Dean for Baystate at Tufts University School of Medicine.

Born in Vienna, Austria, and raised in Philadelphia, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and earned his M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School. He also holds an MBA from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.  

The President’s Medallion Award is bestowed upon those who have distinguished themselves in a particular field or in service to an important cause that has benefited society. The President’s Medallion also recognizes individuals in a variety of fields who are role models worthy of emulation by all, particularly the students and alumni of Western New England University.

For more information on Commencement, visit