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Charisse Lillie and mother, Vernell Lillie, to receive honorary degrees from Seton Hill

Charisse R. Lillie will be the featured speaker at Seton Hill University’s May 14 Commencement. Lillie is the vice president of Human Resources for Comcast Corporation and former partner in the Philadelphia-based law firm of Ballard Spahr Andrews and Ingersoll, where she represented clients dealing with labor and employment issues such as discrimination, harassment and civil rights litigation. In addition to serving as commencement speaker, Charisse Lillie and her mother, Vernell Lillie, will each receive honorary doctoral degrees at the May commencement ceremony. Charisse Lillie will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree and Vernell Lillie an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Seton Hill. Seton Hill's May 14 Commencement ceremony will be the first to take place in the newly opened Katherine Mabis McKenna Center on Seton Hill’s campus. The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m.

Charisse Lillie received her B.A. from Wesleyan University in 1973, her J.D. from Temple University Law School in 1976, and her LL.M. from Yale University in 1982. Throughout her distinguished career, Lillie has shown a profound commitment to affecting change through the law. Among the first generation of students to integrate Houston's public schools in the 1960s, she was aware that attorneys were critical to dismantling the laws of segregation. Lillie's professional and community activities have included serving as Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, Chair of the American Bar Association's Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, Co-Chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association's Racial Bias in the Justice System Committee and member of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania's Committee on Racial and Gender Bias in the Justice System. Lillie has received numerous honors for her professional service, including being named Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, recipient of the Pennsylvania Bar Association's Anne X. Alpern Award, and the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund, Inc.'s Award of Excellence Honoree. Lillie was also named a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania in 2004.

Vernell Lillie is the founder and artistic director of Kuntu Repertory Theatre and an associate professor of Africana Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Vernell holds both a doctorate and an M.A. in English from Carnegie Mellon University and a B.A. in speech and drama from Dillard University. In addition to her traditional academic education, Vernell Lillie has been trained in psychodrama, play back theatre and problem solving theatre. The Kuntu Repertory Theatre has performed internationally, including productions for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland and the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa. In 2003, Vernell Lillie was honored at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education with the Career Achievement in Education Award in addition to receiving a Career Award for Excellence from the Black Theatre Network.

Seton Hill University, chartered in 1918, is a coeducational Catholic liberal arts university in Greensburg, Pa. with more than 30 undergraduate programs and eight graduate programs, including an MBA. Seton Hill brings the world to its students through its distinguished lecturers and nationally and internationally renowned centers. Recognized three times by Entrepreneur magazine as one of the nation’s Top 100 Entrepreneurial Universities, Seton Hill has also been named one of the Best Mid-Atlantic Colleges by The Princeton Review and one of Pennsylvania’s Top 100 Businesses by Pennsylvania Business Central. In addition, Seton Hill has been named a University of Distinction by Colleges of Distinction, an organization founded by a group of concerned parents, educators and admissions professionals. For more information on Seton Hill please visit or call 1-800-826-6234.