The keynote speaker at the 2009 fall commencement ceremony is Joyce Rothermel, co-founder and the current chief executive officer of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, the region?s largest charitable hunger-relief organization located in Duquesne, Pennsylvania.
A crusader against hunger for thirty years, Rothermel was the associate director for the Thomas Merton Center?s Ministry for Justice and Peace when, as part of the Hunger Action Coalition, she helped start both the Jubilee Kitchen (1979) (which later inspired the Rainbow Kitchen) and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank in 1980.
Before joining the Merton Center in 1977, Rothermel taught, as a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Humility of Mary, at several elementary schools in Pittsburgh and Ohio. A native of Canton, Ohio, she earned her B.S. in education from St. John?s College in Cleveland and her M.S. in education from the University of Dayton.
In addition to her leadership of the Food Bank, Rothermel completed an eight-year term on the board of Feeding America (formerly America?s Second Harvest) in 2008. She currently serves on the Advisory Board of Directors for both Pittsburgh Cares and Pittsburgh Storehouse for Teachers, as treasurer for the Pittsburgh Haiti Solidarity Committee, chair of the Government Relations Committee of the Pennsylvania Association of Regional Food Banks, and is the chair of the Church Renewal Committee of the Association of Pittsburgh Priests. She is also an active member of the Executive Directors Forum of Feeding America, Leadership Pittsburgh, Just Harvest, Bread for the World, Amnesty International, and the Thomas Merton Center.
In 2007, Ms. Rothermel was named a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania and in 2008, she received the Frieda Shapira Medal for excellence in non-profit leadership.