Commencement Details

Are you ready for the big day? Here you’ll find announcements and other information related to commencement.
graduates throwing caps

2024 Commencement Ceremony

Join alumni, faculty, honored guests, family and friends to celebrate the trailblazing history and mission of the Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School—and to congratulate our newest graduating class.

Two days of commencement festivities are planned, with wonderful opportunities for you to reconnect with classmates, faculty, colleagues and thought leaders.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

  • 4-5:30 p.m. Central - Expanding the Framework of Addiction Treatment
    Guest Lecture by John Kelly, PhD, Professor, Harvard Medical School, and Board of Governors Member, Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School
    Location: Bigelow Auditorium 
  • 6-8 p.m. Central - Vanguard Dinner
    Honoring our newest graduates. Keynote by Susan Ford Bales, Trustee, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
    Location: Cork Atrium

Friday, April 19, 2024

  • 9-10 a.m. Central- Coffee Social Hour
    An informal gathering of students, alumni, faculty, staff and special guests
    Location: Nelson Bradley Cafeteria
  • 10:30 a.m.-Noon Central - Looking Back to Move Forward: Wisdom from the Journey
    Guest lecture by Jerry Moe, MA, National Director, Emeritus, Hazelden Betty Ford Children's Programs
    Location: Bigelow Auditorium 
  • 1:30-3:30 p.m. Central – 25th Commencement Exercises
    We will honor our 25th graduating class during this invitation-only commencement celebration. Almost three years after retiring from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, beloved and internationally renowned children's counselor Jerry Moe will return to deliver the commencement address. 
    Location: Cork Gymnasium

Diploma and Cover

Diplomas are mailed by the registrar 60-90 days after the date of degree completion. Graduates who participate in the commencement ceremony will also receive a commemorative diploma cover.

Commencement Location

Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School
15245 Pleasant Valley Road
Center City, MN 55012

About Our Featured Speakers

Susan Ford Bales, Trustee, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Susan Ford BalesNovelist, photojournalist and trustee of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, Susan Ford Bales is the daughter of Gerald R. Ford, the 38th President of the United States, and his wife, Betty Ford. She worked side by side with her mother on key projects at the Betty Ford Center, succeeding her mother as board chair from 2005-2010.

Bales is a retired trustee of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation and currently serves as co-trustee of the President Gerald R. Ford Historical Legacy Trust, trustee of the Elizabeth B. Ford Charitable Trust, and on the Honorary Advisory Committee of the Children's National Medical Center. She attended Mount Vernon College, where she studied photojournalism. She is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service degree, an Honorary Doctorate of Letters degree, and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree.

John Kelly, PhD, Member of the Board of Governors, Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School

John KellyJohn Kelly, PhD, is the first endowed professor in addiction medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is also the founder and director of the Recovery Research Institute at the Massachusetts General Hospital, associate director of the Center for Addiction Medicine Massachusetts General Hospital, and program director of the Addiction Recovery Management Service.

Dr. Kelly is a former president of the American Psychological Association's Society of Addiction Psychology, a fellow of the American Psychological Association, and a diplomate of the American Board of Professional Psychology. He has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles, reviews, chapters and books in the field of addiction medicine. His clinical and research work has focused on addiction treatment and the recovery process, mechanisms of behavior change, and reducing stigma and discrimination among individuals suffering from addiction.

Jerry Moe, MA, National Director, Emeritus, Hazelden Betty Ford Children's Programs

Jerry MoeOne of the nation's foremost authorities on the effects of family addiction on children, Jerry Moe, MA, serves as the senior clinical advisor for the National Association for Children of Addiction. He has worked in the substance use disorder treatment and recovery field for more than 40 years, specializing in programming for children and families. An author, speaker and consultant, he has worked with children and families for more than 40 years.

Among Moe's two dozen books are Through a Child's Eyes: Understanding Addiction and Recovery and the Beamer book series for children. His work is featured in the PBS documentary Lost Childhood as well as in Emmy award-winning programs on Nickelodeon and Sesame Street. In 2020, Moe collaborated with Sesame Workshop on the storyline and scripting for Karli, a Sesame Street Muppet whose parent was in a residential treatment program.

Contact the Graduate School to register for any commencement events by calling 1-651-213-4175 or by emailing