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UST Grad Speaker Highlights Leading with Faith, Character

By Bridget Hardy, University of St. Thomas
5/8/2013 (4 years ago)
University of St. Thomas (stthom.edu)

UST Grad Speaker Highlights Leading with Faith, Character

University of St. Thomas will celebrate 350 undergraduates and 793 graduate students during the 2013 Commencement Ceremony at 10:30 a.m. on May 18 in Reliant Arena. Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and founder and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, will give the commencement address. His speech, "The Life of Faith and The Moral Life," will give students valuable advice on living a faithful and moral life following their collegiate careers.

"I am honored to receive an invitation and am always so happy to assist Catholic colleges and universities that are seeking to promote proper integration of faith and reason," George said.

Brittany Garza, senior math major and founder and president of Society of Macrina, is the student speaker. The Rev. Janusz Ihnatowicz, who has been a priest for more than 50 years and is a professor emeritus of theology, will receive an honorary degree along with George. Also, Dr. Ana-Lisa Gonzalez, director of GRACE and Reading and Catholic Education, will receive the Rev. Vincent J. Guinan CSB Alumni of the Year Award.

Before the commencement ceremony, UST will host a Baccalaureate Mass at 6:30 p.m. on May 17 to celebrate and integrate the accomplishments of the graduating seniors with their community. A graduation reception for family and friends will follow the Mass at UST. Shuttle service will be provided. 

Robert George Speaks on Faith, Moral Life

George is a professor of politics and an associated faculty member of the Department of Philosophy at Princeton.

He is a former member of the President's Council on Bioethics, and previously served as a presidential appointee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. He has also served on the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture's, or UNESCO, World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology, of which he remains a corresponding member.  He was a judicial fellow at the Supreme Court of the United States, where he received the Justice Tom C. Clark Award.

George is author of "Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality," "In Defense of Natural Law," and "The Clash of Orthodoxies."  He has edited and co-edited several volumes, essays and books. He is a frequent contributor to "First Things," where he is a member of the editorial board, and has also written for publications such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.

A graduate of Swarthmore College and Harvard Law School, George also earned a master's degree in theology from Harvard University and a doctorate in philosophy of law from Oxford University.  He holds honorary doctorates of law, letters, ethics, science, humane letters, civil law and juridical science.

In 2008, he received the Presidential Citizens Medal, one of the highest honors that can be conferred by the United States on a civilian, at a ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House.  In 2010, he was awarded the Honorific Medal for the Defense of Human Rights of the Republic of Poland.

In addition to his work at Princeton University, George is the Herbert W. Vaughan Senior Fellow of the Witherspoon Institute and a member of the Task Force on the Virtues of a Free Society of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

In 2012 he was nominated to serve on the U.S. Commission of International Religious Freedom.  He is Founder of the American Principles Project, an organization dedicated to shaping public policy in line with our Nation's founding principles.

Grad Mathematician Calculates Perfect Speech

Student speaker Brittany Garza, a senior math major, will present her speech, "Level Up as Leaders of Faith and Character," and looks forward to the opportunity to share her collegiate reflections.

"It feels surreal," Garza said. "It will be a privilege to tell them the thoughts I've had on my heart during my four years at St. Thomas. We've been very blessed, and 'leveling up' means giving back to the world and touching other people's lives as leaders of faith and character, which is our mission."

Ihnatowicz Receives Honorary Degree for Years of Service

Father Ihnatowicz is a priest, theologian, professor and university administrator. Ihnatowicz's published nine volumes of poetry, inspired literary scholarship and earned a lifetime achievement award from the Union of Polish Writers Abroad for his contributions to Polish literature.

UST Alumna of the Year Personifies GRACE

Dr. Ana-Lisa Gonzalez '97, M.Ed. '01, assistant professor and director of Reading and Catholic Education, and the GRACE Program, will receive the Rev. Vincent J. Guinan CSB Alumni of the Year Award. Because Gonzalez's service to the university goes beyond the classroom, she was honored to receive this award from the University she loves.

"All alumni have an opportunity to give back to the University," Gonzalez said. "My liberal arts education prepared me for the rigor of being a classroom teacher, doctoral student and assistant principal - it propelled me to new heights."

Watch Commencement Live

Those not able to attend can watch a live stream of the graduation ceremony.

Read about other outstanding graduates:

Environmental Science Grad Loves Conservation    
Weaver's Dream Flies Her to Vet School    
FirstGen Grad to Teach for America in Detroit    
Artist Earns UST's First BA/BFA, Gallery Show    
Drama Grad Clears Hurdles for Role of a Lifetime
MAFC Grad Bridges Faith Communities
Learning Knows No Age for Grad
Education Grad Aims to be Voice for Others

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The University of St. Thomas, dedicated to educating leaders of faith and character, is a private institution committed to the liberal arts and to the religious, ethical and intellectual tradition of Catholic higher education. St. Thomas is Houstons only Catholic University and was founded by the Basilian Fathers.


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