Sister Norma Pimentel, James McCann to Receive Honorary Degrees at 2022 Commencement

Both honorary degree recipients will deliver congratulatory remarks to the class of 2022.

Photo of Sister Norma Pimentel Sister Norma Pimentel, MJ, executive director for Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, and James McCann, founder and executive chairman of, will receive honorary degrees and will deliver congratulatory remarks to the Manhattan College class of 2022 at the Commencement Exercises on May 18.

Sister Norma Pimentel will address Manhattan College’s undergraduate class of 2022 after receiving an honorary doctorate degree in humane letters. She is a Sister with the Missionaries of Jesus, and is executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley. 

Sister Norma oversees the charitable arm of the Diocese of Brownsville, providing oversight of different ministries and services in the Rio Grande Valley, located along the U.S.-Mexico border through emergency assistance, homelessness prevention, disaster relief, clinical counseling, pregnancy care, food programs, and humanitarian relief to immigrants.

Sister Norma’s work is one of immediate response to the emerging needs in the community. Her humanitarian work on the U.S.-Mexico border, overseeing the provision of a safe space for migrants to rest and regain strength, has been recognized by many organizations across the country. 

She was the recipient of the May 2018 Notre Dame Laetare Medal, named to the 2020 TIME100 list of the most influential people in the world and most recently received the Pacem in Terris Award in April 2022. Sister Norma received her bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Pan American University, a master’s degree in theology from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, and a master’s degree in pastoral counseling from Loyola University in Chicago.

Portrait photo of James McCannJames McCann will address Manhattan College's class at Graduate Commencement on May 18 after receiving an honorary doctorate in humane letters. 

McCann is a successful entrepreneur, business leader, author, media personality and philanthropist whose passion is helping people deliver smiles. McCann’s belief in the universal need for social connections and interaction led to his founding of, Inc., which he has grown into one of the world’s leading floral and gourmet gifting companies.

McCann is also deeply involved in philanthropy and especially devoted to helping individuals with developmental disabilities. This includes his continued work as founder and chairman of Smile Farms, a 501(c)3 organization established in 2015. Smile Farms provides meaningful jobs in agricultural settings to young adults and adults with developmental disabilities, allowing them to master new skills, experience teamwork, contribute to their community and, importantly, take home a paycheck.

The Manhattan College website has the complete information on the 2022 Commencement Exercises, including a full schedule of events.

By Pete McHugh