Saint Martin˶names Medrice Coluccio as 2023-2024 commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient

Photo of Medrice Coluccio

LACEY, Wash. – ˶ is pleased to announce Medrice Coluccio as the 2023-2024 commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient. Coluccio will be recognized as a doctor of humane arts, honoris causa, and will address the graduating Class of 2024 on Saturday, May 4, at 10 a.m. in the Hal and Inge Marcus Pavilion.

“Every year for Commencement Saint Martin˶recognizes individuals whose achievements have positively impacted their communities,” said ˶ Interim Co-president Roy Heynderickx, Ph.D. “This year we are proud and honored to recognize Medrice Coluccio, distinguished retired healthcare executive and current chair of Saint Martin˶Board of Trustees, for her decades of advocacy for the patient and student experience.” 

Medrice Coluccio grew up in Seattle, Washington, and comes from a large and devoted Italian and Irish family. Beginning her education journey at Seattle University, she earned her Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing, where she was also one of the first women to receive a tennis scholarship after Title 9 became law. Afterward, she earned her Master's Degree in Nursing Administration from the University of Washington, going on to raise the bar of every healthcare system she touched. 

Coluccio is an accomplished healthcare executive who has devoted her professional career to driving broad-scale organizational transformation and change. Beginning her career as a registered nurse at Sharp HealthCare in San Diego, she then went on to serve in leadership roles as Clinical Director at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle; Chief Operating Officer at Providence Northwest Region; Chief Operating Officer of Butler Health System in Pennsylvania; Chief Executive Officer of PeaceHealth Lower Columbia Region.  

While serving as the CEO of PeaceHealth in 2002, less than five percent of women across the country were serving in the healthcare CEO role. Coluccio then served for eleven years as the Chief Executive Officer of Providence Southwest Service Area, which includes Providence St. Peter Hospital, Providence Centralia Hospital and Providence SW Medical Group, serving five local counties. Her retirement in 2020 was the conclusion of a transformational four decades of celebrated leadership in healthcare administration. 

Coluccio embodies the ideal of leadership through service, sharing her administrative acumen with other organizations by serving on their governance boards. She has served as a member on the College of Nursing Board of Trustees for Seattle University, CEO and Chair of the Regional Governing Board of PeaceHealth Lower Columbia Region, and Chair of the Board Governance Committee for Lewis Construction. She has also given her talents to ˶, serving on the Board of Trustees for the past nine years, first as Chair of the Finance Committee, then Vice Chair and, for the past four years, as Chair of the Board of Trustees. 

Coluccio˶professional contributions have been recognized with and honored by a number of national and regional organizations. Examples include the national Catholic HealthCare Association Outstanding Leadership Award, the American Organization of Nursing Executives National Mentorship Award, and the Seattle University Dean˶Award for Leadership.

"As we announce this year's honorary degree recipient, we are reminded of the profound impact individuals can have when guided by values rooted in compassion and service, principles deeply ingrained in our Catholic tradition,” said Interim Co-President Fr. Kilian Malvey, O.S.B. "Medrice Coluccio embodies the spirit of our University's mission, and her contributions to society exemplify the transformative power of acting compassionately with a focus on stewardship in executive leadership."   


˶ is an independent coeducational university, with undergraduate and graduate offerings, located on a wooded campus of more than 380 acres in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 13 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. ˶ empowers students to pursue a lifetime of learning and accomplishment through its 31 majors, 11 master˶programs, one doctorate program and seven certificate programs spanning the arts and sciences, business, counseling, education, engineering, nursing, and leadership. Saint Martin˶welcomes more than 1,300 undergraduate students and 250 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and more students to its extended campus located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. 

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Commencement information

Saint Martin's University Commencement will be held on Saturday, May 4, at 10 a.m. in the Marcus Pavilion. The event may be viewed over our livestream as well.

Event Information

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