Siena College is honored to recognize Gerald "Jerry" DeFrancisco on the occasion of its 78th Commencement.  Mr. DeFrancisco has held the position of Distinguished Civic Leader in Residence within Siena's Center for Academic Community Engagement since 2014.  He serves as a consultant, mentor and resource to the students enrolled in ACE programs and the nonprofit organizations they serve.

"The ACE program provides the dual purpose of giving valuable and meaningful assistance to community organizations, while providing students with a deep understanding of the critical role of good management in the non-profit world," said DeFrancisco.  "In short, it teaches Siena students the importance of managing with both heart and head."

Mr. Defrancisco applied that style of leadership as president of humanitarian services for the American Red Cross, the position he held before returning to work at his alma mater.  In that role, he led operations for more than 1,500 Red Cross locations in the United States and around the world.  He helped to transform the governance, service, delivery processes and organizational structure for the Red Cross Humanitarian Services.  During his tenure, he also provided leadership during recovery efforts following disasters, including Hurricane Sandy, coordinating Red Cross work with numerous community nonprofits.

Before joining the Red Cross, Mr. DeFrancisco was president of two global consulting firms specializing in strategy, operations, sustainability and performance improvement.  Prior to his consulting career, he enjoyed a 30-year career at AT&T, where he served as an executive vice president of broadband and internet services, vice president of business innovation, and president and chief executive officer or AT&T Alascom, a major AT&T acquisition.  He is a U.S. Army veteran, and has served on numerous non-profit boards throughout his career.  He's also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Alaska, Fairleigh Dickinson University, and Siena, and he has been a speaker and panelist at numerous business, educational and government conferences.

Mr. DeFrancisco holds a B.A. from Siena College (Class of 1968) in history, and an Executive MBA from Pace University in New York.  He is currently completing a Doctorate in Management (ABD) at Pace University, Lubin School of Business.  He resides in Basking Ridge, New Jersey.

In recognition of his lifetime of exemplary achievement, leadership and commitment to humanitarian ideals, Siena College awards Gerald DeFrancisco the honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters.