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2014 Honorary Degree Recipients



Keynote Speaker

Dr. Charles F. Desmond,
Doctor of Public Service

Charlie Desmond was appointed by Governor Patrick in September 2008 to the Board of Higher Education, and in December 2008, the Governor appointed him to serve as Chair.

A Fulbright Scholar, Charlie served from 2002 to 2009 as Executive Vice President of the Trefler Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving educational opportunities and success for Boston's urban youth.

Prior to Trefler, Charlie worked for 30 years at the University of Massachusetts Boston, with a focus on student affairs and community collaboration.

Dr. Desmond is active in civic and community organizations, including service as President of AARP Massachusetts and as a member of the Review Committee for the Broad Prize in Urban Education.

Dr. Desmond earned his Ed.D. in instructional leadership from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a B.S. in sociology from Northeastern University. He is a decorated veteran of the U.S. Army, receiving both Silver and Bronze stars.




Lila Berle, Doctor of Humanities

Lila Berle is a lifelong ecologist and farmer. She is dedicated to land conservation in the region, particularly the preservation of historic homes and view sheds at cultural institutions. She has established conservation easements on 850 acres in Monument Valley and on Monument Mountain in the Southern Berkshires.

She has been profiled recently as a leader in the farm to table movement. She has been chairwoman and/or president of the Norman Rockwell Museum, Chesterwood, Edith Wharton Restoration the Berkshire Hills Regional School Committee, and Simon's Rock.  She currently serves on the boards of The Mount, Berkshire South Community Center and Sculpture Now.



Michael Christopher '73,
Doctor of Public Service

Michael Christopher is a graduate of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and serves on the Board of the MCLA Foundation.  He is the former President and Chief Operating Officer for Legacy Banks.

In 1993 he became CEO of the former Lenox Savings Bank and in 1995  was instrumental in forming The Trust Company of the Berkshires as a joint venture with the former City Savings Bank. He has served on the board of the Berkshire Museum.

He attended numerous banking schools and courses over the course of his career. He is a U.S. Navy veteran, having served in Panama and Vietnam.




Michael Conforti, Doctor of Fine Arts 

Michael Conforti has been director of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute since 1994.  Under Conforti's leadership the Clark has expanded its collections as well as its special exhibition and research and academic programs.

Conforti is a trustee of the American Academy in Rome, the Association of Art Museum Directors, The National Committee for the History of Art and CIHA (the Comité International d'Histoire de l'Art).  He teaches at Williams College and is a regular lecturer and author of articles on sculpture and the decorative arts, museum history and practice, as well as institutional and private collecting in their social and cultural context.