The faithful Catholic colleges and universities profiled in The Cardinal Newman Society's Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College
are once again this year honoring bishops and other leaders with clear support for Church teaching.
Here is a snapshot of some of the great choices for commencement speaker and honorary degrees that have been announced thus far:
Aquinas College (Nashville, TN)
- Sister Mary Evelyn Potts, O.P. will deliver the commencement address. Sr. Mary Evelyn is a former President of Aquinas College. During her tenure, she oversaw Aquinas' transition from a two-year into a four-year institution.
Belmont Abbey College (Belmont, NC)
- Father Robert Spitzer, S.J., will receive an honorary degree and deliver the homily at the Baccalaureate Mass. Fr. Spitzer's Magis Center of Faith and Reason produces documentaries, books, curriculum, and new media materials demonstrating the close connection between faith and reason in contemporary astrophysics, philosophy, and the historical study of the New Testament.
Benedictine College (Atchison, KS)
- George Weigel will deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary degree. Weigel is the acclaimed author of the biography on Pope John Paul II, Witness to Hope
, and holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann will receive an honorary degree. Archbishop Naumann sits on the USCCB Pro-Life and Marriage and Family committees.
The Catholic University of America (Washington, D.C.)
- Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, will deliver the commencement address and receive an award. As president of the USCCB, Cardinal Dolan has been the leading voice in defense of religious liberty in recent months from the HHS mandate forcing insurers to provide coverage for sterilization and contraceptives, including some that cause abortion, at no cost.
Father Julian Carron, leader of the lay ecclesial movement Communion and Liberation, will receive an honorary degree.
Christendom College (Front Royal, VA)
- Mother Agnes Donovan, S.V., will deliver the commencement address and receive an award. Mother Agnes is Superior of the Sisters of Life in New York and a licensed clinical psychologist.
Father Kenneth Baker, S.J., will receive an honorary degree and deliver the Baccalaureate Mass homily. Fr. Baker served as editor of Homiletic & Pastoral Review
for 40 years and is now editor emeritus.
The College of Saint Mary Magdalen (Warner, NH)
- New Hampshire gubernatorial candidate Ovide M. Lamontagne will deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary degree. Lamontagne has served the Diocese of Manchester as Chairman of the Diocesan School Board, a member of the Corporate Campaign for NH Catholic Charities, and the Catholic Lawyers Guild of New Hampshire. Lamontagne has received a campus ministry award for public service.
Franciscan University of Steubenville (Steubenville, OH)
- Paterson Bishop Arthur Serratelli will receive an honorary degree and deliver the homily during the Baccalaureate Mass. Bishop Serratelli was influential throughout the process of preparing and developing the new translation of the Mass, having served as chairman of the USCCB Committee on Liturgy. He currently serves on the International Commission on English in the Liturgy and as secretary of the Vatican's Vox Clara Committee.
Dr. Marie Hilliard will deliver the graduate commencement address and receive an honorary doctorate. Dr. Hilliard is director of Bioethics and Public Policy for the National Catholic Bioethics Center. She is also a canon lawyer and consultant for the USCCB on the implementation of Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Healthcare Services and on Church-State relations.
St. Gregory's University (Shawnee, OK)
- Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul S. Coakley will deliver the commencement address. Archbishop Coakley serves on the USCCB Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and Evangelization and Catechesis committees. The Archbishop is an adviser to the National Association of Catholic Chaplains and serves on the boards of The Catholic University of America, Conception Seminary College, Aquinas College, Catholic Relief Services and the Augustine Institute.
Thomas Aquinas College (Santa Paula, CA)
- Mother Mary Assumpta Long, O.P., will deliver the commencement address. Mother Mary Assumpta is the prioress general of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Michigan, which she established 15 years ago. The order is now planning new houses in Northern California, Florida, South Carolina, and Texas.
The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts (Merrimack, NH)
- Dr. Paul Connell, alumnus and current Thomas More College Rome Program Academic Director, will deliver the commencement address.
University of Dallas (Irving, TX)
- Fort Worth Bishop Kevin Vann will preside over an awards ceremony for School of Ministry graduate students.
University of St. Thomas (Houston, TX)
- Sister Deirdre Mary Byrne, POSC, will deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary degree. Having served as a doctor in the U.S. Army and attaining the rank of colonel, Sr. Deirdre joined the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts and established the order's Medical Missionary branch. Prior to entering religious life, Sr. Deirdre cared for the wounded on September 11, 2001.
Father Robert Crooker, CSB, will receive an honorary degree for lifelong support of the University and Catholic higher education. Fr. Crooker currently serves on the University of St. Thomas Board of Directors and has held faculty and administrative positions at the school in the past.
Wyoming Catholic College (Lander, WY)
- Colorado Springs Bishop Michael Sheridan will deliver the commencement address and receive an award. Bishop Sheridan is a member of the College's Foundation Board. The bishop is currently a consultant to the USCCB Committee on Catholic Education and a member of the Administrative Committee and the Committee for the Priorities and Plans of the USCCB. Bishop Sheridan is chairman of the Episcopal Advisory Board of the Catholic Radio Association.
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