This Year’s Convocation Speaker is a BC Alum and VP of Walgreens

steve pemberton

For the first time, a BC alumnus and member of the Board of Trustees will speak at Freshman Convocation. Steve Pemberton, author of A Chance in the World, vice president and first chief diversity officer of Walgreens, and BC ’89, will address the Class of 2020 on Sept. 8.

Elizabeth Bracher, interim director of First Year Experience, said that she chose Pemberton to be the speaker partly because he understands the Boston College community.

“He recognizes the profound influence that higher education, and in particular his experiences at BC, have had in helping him to build an adult life of meaning and purpose both personally and professionally,” she said in an email.

Pemberton grew up as a ward of the state, but he was able to overcome this difficult circumstance. A Chance in the World is about a boy who lives with an abusive foster family and determines to succeed in school.


“We hope that Pemberton’s story offers our students insight into the strength of the human condition and the importance that connection plays in giving us strength and courage to live our best lives.”

—Elizabeth Bracher, interim director of First Year Experience


“Pemberton’s faith and the simple kindness of strangers and mentors alike helped him to develop both the resiliency and agency that have enabled him to make a difference in life for himself, his family, and for others,” she said.

This is the first time that a BC alumnus and member of the Board of Trustees will speak at Convocation. Faculty, students, and administrators recommended his book to Bracher.

She believes Pemberton’s reflections on his time at BC will encourage incoming freshman to seek out positive relationships with other students and faculty.

“We hope that Pemberton’s story offers our students insight into the strength of the human condition and the importance that connection plays in giving us strength and courage to live our best lives,” Bracher said.

Featured Image Courtesy of Missions and Marketplace Conference

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Sophie Reardon is the head news editor for The Heights. She is from Alexandria, VA and is majoring in history and communication. Her favorite news source other than The Heights is The Skimm.