They’re among the dozens of notable personalities giving commencement addresses at Catholic schools this spring.
With graduation season kicking into high gear, Crux looked at the websites of the nation’s more than 200 Catholic universities, colleges, and seminaries to see who’s responsible for inspiring the next generation of Catholic alums.
A few princes of the Church will offer their best advice to students:
- Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston at Saint Edward’s University in Austin
- Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York at Le Moyne College in Syracuse
- Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila at Chicago’s Catholic Theological Union
- Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley will give two addresses: one at Seton Hall University in New Jersey and another at Emmanuel College in Boston.
Other notable clergy giving speeches include Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich, who will give the address at Boston College. Two Jesuits are each doing double duty: the Rev. James Martin, SJ, author and editor at America magazine, at Fairfield University and Santa Clara University; and the Rev. Greg Boyle, SJ, founder of the Los Angeles anti-gang nonprofit, Homeboy Industries, at Gonzaga University and the University of San Diego.
With the Vatican’s investigation of US nuns in the history books, close to a dozen sisters from across of the theological spectrum will be give addresses.
Sister Regina Marie, former chairwoman of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, will speak at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif., and Sister Paula Gonzalez, “an internationally known futurist,” will speak at the College of Mount Saint Joseph in Cincinnati.
Several speakers come from the world of sports, including legendary football coach Lou Holtz speaking at the Franciscan University of Steubenville and former LA Lakers basketball superstar Magic Johnson at Xavier University of Louisiana.
Political speakers include former US Senator George Mitchell at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, and 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney will return to New Hampshire at Saint Anselm College.
On the media front, MSNBC pundit Chris Matthews will speak at Saint Mary’s College of California, talk show host Charlie Rose at Georgetown University, and Watergate journalist Bob Woodward at Loyola University New Orleans.
The Catholic commencement wars have been light this year, nothing like the uproar when the University of Notre Dame invited President Barack Obama in 2009.
But the Cardinal Newman Society issued its annual report of “scandalous” speakers at Catholic schools. And in a surprising twist, some students at the Jesuit Le Moyne College have protested Dolan’s scheduled address, citing his record on clergy sexual abuse and stance on LGBT issues.
Other speakers come from the academic, nonprofit, business, and inspiring-stories sectors. As for the craft brewer and astronaut, that’s Carlos Alvarez, founder, chairman, and CEO of The Gambrinus Co., speaking at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, and Jose M. Hernandez, former NASA astronaut, who’s at Marymount California University.
Here’s our list. If you know of other speakers at Catholic colleges and universities not listed here, please tell us in the comments below.
2015 commencement speakers at Catholic colleges and universities
Alvernia University: Kate Wolford, president of the McKnight Foundation
Anna Maria College: The Rev. John F. Madden, pastor of St. John Parish in Worcester, Mass.
Aquinas College: Candace Matthews, regional president of the Americas for Amway
Assumption College: Major General Robert Catalanotti (Ret.)
Ave Maria School of Law: General Peter Pace, USMC (Ret.)
Ave Maria University: Arthur C. Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute
Benedictine College: Dayton Moore, general manager of the Kansas City Royals
Boston College: Archbishop Blase Cupich, Archdiocese of Chicago
Cabrini College: The Rev. Daniel Groody, immigration advocate and professor at the University of Notre Dame
Caldwell University: Michael Kambourakis, president of Terzako Furs
Carlow University: Sharon Epperson, CNBC correspondent
Catholic Distance University: Mark Semmens, Carroll College trustee
Catholic Theological Union: Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila
Catholic University of America: Mary Higgins Clark, author
Christ the King Seminary: The Rev. James J. Maher, president of Niagara University
Christendom College: Alice Von Hildebrand, Catholic philosopher
Clarke University: Lori Schneider, first climber in the world with multiple sclerosis to conquer the Seven Summits, a collection of the highest peaks in Africa, Europe, South America, North America, Australia, Antarctica, and Asia
College of the Holy Cross: Bryan A. Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative
College of Mount Saint Joseph: Sister Paula Gonzalez, “internationally known futurist”
College of Saint Benedict: Robert Dumonceaux, Regents Professor Emeritus of mathematics at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University
College of Saint Elizabeth: Rochelle Hendrinks, New Jersey secretary of higher education
College of Saint Joseph: Paula McGee, preacher
D’Youville College: L. Nelson Hopkins, professor of neurosurgery at the University of Buffalo
DePaul University: Peter J. Stang, 2011 National Medal of Science winner
DeSales University: David J. Kubacki, president of the Nativity Preparatory School in Wilmington, Del.
Dominican House of Studies: Helen Alvaré, professor at George Mason University School of Law
Dominican University: Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University
Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit: Michael Collins, Ireland’s ambassador to Germany
Elms College: Congressman John Lewis
Emmanuel College: Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston
Fairfield University: The Rev. James Martin, Jesuit priest and editor at America magazine
Fordham University: Nana Lordina, first lady of the Republic of Ghana
Franciscan University of Steubenville: Lou Holtz, former football coach
Gannon University: The Rev. Thomas Rosica, CEO of Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation
Georgetown University: Charlie Rose, talk show host
Gonzaga University: The Rev. Greg Boyle, Jesuit priest and founder of Homeboy Industries
Gwynedd-Mercy College: James J. Maguire Sr., president of the Maguire Foundation
Hilbert College: Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York
Immaculata University: Colleen Carroll Campbell, journalist and former presidential speechwriter
Iona College: Dorothy H. Wickenden, executive editor of The New Yorker magazine
Jesuit School of Theology: Sister Bernice Gotelli, chaplain of the University of California at San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital
John Paul the Great Catholic University: Dean Koontz, author
La Roche College: Christine Spadafor, president of the SpadaforClay Group
Le Moyne College: Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York
Loyola University Chicago: Ian Brennan, producer and director
Loyola University New Orleans: Bob Woodward, journalist
Manhattan College: David J. O’Brien, professor of Catholic studies
Maria College: Sister Patricia Deirdre Mullan, international activist
Marian University: Mark Lasky, CEO of Sadoff Iron and Metal Company
Marquette University: Sister Margaret O’Neill, founder of El Centro Arte Para la Paz
Marymount California University: Jose M. Hernandez, former NASA astronaut
Misericordia University: Sister Eileen M. Campbell, former head of the Mercy Volunteer Corps
Mount Carmel College of Nursing: Melanie Dreher, chair of the Trinity Health board of trustees
Mount Marty College: South Dakota State Sen. Bernie Hunhoff
Mount Mary College: Sister Ellen Lorenz, former president of Mount Mary College
Mount Mercy University: Sister Karen Schneider, professor of pediatric emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins University
Mount Saint Mary’s College: Alejandra Ceja, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
Mount Saint Mary’s University: R. James Nicholsan, former secretary of Veterans Affairs
Niagara University: Margaret Brennan, CBS News journalist
Notre Dame de Namur University: Fedele Bauccio, CEO of Bon Appetit
Notre Dame of Maryland University: Meir Stampfer, “one of the five most cited scientists in clinical medicine over the past 20 years”
Ohio Dominican University: Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio
Providence College: Darlene Love, member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Rivier College: Karen A. Daley, nursing safety activist
Rosemont College of the Holy Child Jesus: Sister Ann M. Durst, founder of Casa Cornelia Law Center
Sacred Heart University: Former US Sen. George Mitchell
Saint Ambrose University: Haley Scott DeMaria, “former collegiate swimmer who overcame severe injuries suffered in a tragic bus accident and ultimately swam again”
Saint Anselm College: 2012 GOP presidential nominee and former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney
Saint Bonaventure University: Tim Brown, president and CEO of Nestlé Waters
Saint Catherine College: Madeline Abramson, chair of the Kentucky Commission on Women
Saint Edward’s University: Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston
Saint Francis University: Sister Ilia Delio, director of the Catholic Studies program at Georgetown University
Saint John’s University: Bishop David O’Connell of the Diocese of Trenton
Saint John’s University of Collegeville: Robert Dumonceaux, Regents Professor Emeritus of mathematics at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University
Saint Joseph College: Rhonda Joy McLean, deputy general counsel of Time, Inc.
Saint Joseph’s College: Sister Loretta McGrann, provost
Saint Joseph’s College of Maine: Elizabeth McLellan, president of Partners for World Health
Saint Joseph’s University: Mayor Michael A. Nutter of Philadelphia
Saint Martin’s University: Lieutenant General Stephen R. Lanza
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College: Suzanne Crouch, Indiana state auditor
Saint Mary’s College: Sister Rosemary Connelly, executive director of Misericordia Home in Chicago
Saint Mary’s College of California: Chris Matthews, political pundit
Saint Mary’s University: Carlos Alvarez, CEO of the Gambrinus Company
Saint Michael’s College: Bernard Lafayette, civil rights activists
Saint Norbert College: Marti Wronski, vice president and general counsel of the Milwaukee Brewers
Saint Peter’s University: Cornell W. Brooks, president and CEO of the NAACP
Saint Thomas Aquinas College: Edward Ludwig, former CEO of Becton, Dickinson and Company
Saint Vincent College: Carolyn Woo, president of Catholic Relief Services
Saint Vincent Seminary: Bishop Mark L. Bartchak of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown
Saint Vincent’s College: Martin Sbriglio, CEO of Ryders Health Management
Saint Xavier University: James Reynolds Jr. of Loop Capital
Salve Regina University: Michelle Kwan, former US Olympic figure skating champion
Santa Clara University: The Rev. James Martin, Jesuit priest and editor at America magazine
Seton Hall University: Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston
Stonehill College: Kenneth Feinberg, One Fund Boston
Thomas Aquinas College: Sister Regina Marie, former chair of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious
Thomas More College of Liberal Arts: Msgr. James Shea, president of the University of Mary
Trocaire College: Myron Glick, founder of Jericho Road Community Health Center
University of Dayton: Martin Sheen, actor
University of Detroit Mercy: Judge Damon J. Keith, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
University of Notre Dame: Christopher Patten, chancellor of the University of Oxford
University of Saint Francis: Richard Avdul, University of Saint Francis Professor Emeritus and former education department chair
University of Saint Thomas: Mark Crea, president of Feed My Starving Children
University of San Diego: The Rev. Greg Boyle, Jesuit priest and founder of Homeboy Industries
University of San Francisco: Sylvia Alice Earle, National Geographic “Explorer in Residence”
Villanova University: Madeline Bell, COO of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Walsh University: The Rev. Walter S. Moss, project director for the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence
Wheeling Jesuit University: Congressman Timothy Murphy
Wyoming Catholic College: Bishop Paul Etienne of the Diocese of Cheyenne
Xavier University: Kevin Fleming, Liberia Peace Corps director
Xavier University of Louisiana has invited four speakers to celebrate the retirement of President Norman Francis: Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York; former US Sen. Mary Landrieu; former US Attorney General Eric Holder, and former basketball player Magic Johnson.