Open primary navigation menu

Mount Saint Vincent Announces 2024 Commencement Speaker


Dr. Terry Fulmer to Address Graduates at 112th Commencement Exercises

The University of Mount Saint Vincent is delighted to announce that Terry Fulmer, PhD, RN, FAAN, President of The John A. Hartford Foundation, has been selected as this year’s Commencement speaker.

The 112th Commencement exercises—the first since our university designation—will take place on Saturday, May 18 under the striking white tent on the University’s riverfront Great Lawn. In front of a crowd full of their closest family members, friends, professors, advisors, and peers, nearly 600 graduates will cross the dais to receive their diplomas and officially be welcomed into the Alumnae/i Association of the University.

But, before each graduate gains the opportunity to shake President Burns’ hand and turn their tassel, Dr. Fulmer will address the Class of 2024 with her charge to the graduates, providing what we anticipate will be a heartfelt reflection of her passionate career and a motivational discourse for our career-ready Dolphins.

“There are no words to express the gratitude and humility that I feel to be recognized by this esteemed institution in such a heartfelt and special way,” Dr. Fulmer reflected. “It’s like asking to be invited into a family—a family that you never leave and a family that you embrace and treasure.”

Dr. Fulmer has had an impressive career spanning both practice and academia in geriatric nursing and is now nationally and internationally recognized as a leading expert in geriatrics.

Since the start of her nursing career, Dr. Fulmer has been committed to improving the care of older adults. The last century has seen enormous progress in healthcare, which has allowed unimaginable longevity.

“Today, the opportunity is to embrace those of us living longer and provide age-friendly care that responds to their needs and goals of care,” said Dr. Fulmer.

In the mid-1970s, Dr. Fulmer was among the first 75 nurses to be certified as gerontological nurses, which gave her the credential she needed to be recognized by her peers. Government funding and foundation support has been essential for the growth of knowledge within geriatric nursing science, which has brought her to her current position in the field.

Dr. Fulmer’s presidency at The John A. Hartford Foundation serves as both a culmination and continuation of her life’s work.

“Working as The John A. Hartford Foundation’s President gives me the ability to use the networks, the science, and the experience that I’ve gained to date in order to create age-friendly health systems, support family caregivers, and help with the improvement of serious illness and end-of-life care,” noted Dr. Fulmer.

The Foundation, established in 1929, currently has an endowment of over a half a billion dollars. As President, Dr. Fulmer is the chief strategist of the Foundation’s use of and distribution of these funds, and her dynamic vision for improving the care of our older population has spearheaded the Age-Friendly Health Systems movement. And, since 1982, the Foundation has awarded more than $724 million in grants to enhance the health and well-being of older adults, helping them to maintain their independence and dignity.

Prior to her role at The John A. Hartford Foundation, Dr. Fulmer held previous tenures as a Distinguished Professor and Dean of Health Sciences at Northeastern University and as a Professor and the Founding Dean of the College of Nursing at New York University, among others.

While Dr. Fulmer has known of the Mount’s prestigious nursing program for decades, she was recently reacquainted with the University through Daniel A. Reingold, President and Chief Executive Officer of RiverSpring Living, which includes the world-renowned Hebrew Home directly adjacent to the Mount’s Riverdale campus. Mr. Reingold received an honorary degree from Mount Saint Vincent in 2019 and could not be more thrilled to have his colleague and friend, Terry, join him as a Mount alum.

“Dr. Terry Fulmer has devoted her entire professional career to the advancement of the nursing profession and creating an age-friendly world,” shared Mr. Reingold. “This honor being bestowed by the University of Mount Saint Vincent is a well-deserved recognition of her enormous academic and professional accomplishments. I am proud to call her a friend as well as a colleague.”

Currently, Dr. Fulmer serves as a Trustee for the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, Springer Publishing Company, and the Bassett Healthcare Network. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine. Additionally, she is a member of both the Reimagining Long-Term Care Task Force in New York State and the National Academy of Medicine’s Forum on Aging, Disability, and Independence. Dr. Fulmer also serves as Vice Chair of the Department of Veterans Affairs Special Medical Advisory Group, is a Distinguished Practitioner of the National Academies of Practice, and currently is an attending nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital in the place she calls home: New York City.

She has served terms on a plethora of additional advisory committees and boards—including as the first nurse to have served on the Board of the American Geriatrics Society and the first nurse to have served as President of the Gerontological Society of America—and has been the recipient of several awards.

Mount Saint Vincent President Susan R. Burns could not be more elated to have Dr. Fulmer address our graduates on Commencement Day.

“Dr. Terry Fulmer is an admired leader in her field and a pioneer among those advocating for the rights of our older population,” shared Dr. Burns. “I know that she will offer distinct words of wisdom that will resonate with not only our nursing graduates, but with each and every Mount grad that will be waiting eagerly to walk across our Commencement stage. I look forward to learning from her, and to presenting her with an honorary degree from the place she, too, can soon call home—the Right Place on the River.”

When asked what she is most exited for, Dr. Fulmer responded:

“I’m most looking forward to seeing the students, the faculty, and the families—just being among the community in such an incredibly present way. Higher education is a steppingstone in our society. We owe it to every person who is interested in higher education to try to help them gain their foothold into a pathway to a degree. The Mount believes in just that. Your mission is the essence of my discipline, which is something that I find is incredibly profound.”

Dr. Fulmer received her bachelor’s degree from Skidmore College, her master’s and doctoral degrees from Boston College, and her Geriatric Nurse Practitioner Post-Master’s Certificate from New York University.

Prior to Dr. Fulmer’s speech, she will be awarded with a Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa from the University of Mount Saint Vincent (the first Honorary Degree Recipient of the University!), bestowed upon her by President Burns and the University’s Board of Trustees.

“What a moment to join your ceremony, join your family, and join your celebration of university status.”

More information on the 2024 Commencement activities will be shared with our community soon. The 112th Commencement exercises will be livestreamed and recorded, so all will be able to watch both Dr. Fulmer’s address and cheer on our graduates.

Congratulations, Dr. Fulmer. And congratulations, Class of 2024!

About the University of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the University of Mount Saint Vincent offers a nationally recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River. Committed to the education of the whole person, and enriched by the unparalleled cultural, educational, and career opportunities of New York City, the University equips students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary for lives of achievement, professional accomplishment, and leadership in the 21st century.