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Spring 2008 Commencement


Two prominent Catholic women and an American cardinal on the Roman Curia will send forth the graduates

Posted: Wednesday, March 5, 2008

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STEUBENVILLE, OHIO—Exhortations from two prominent Catholic women and an American cardinal on the Roman Curia will send forth the graduates at Franciscan University of Steubenville’s 59th annual commencement ceremonies, May 9 and 10, 2008.

Over 575 students are expected to graduate from 36 undergraduate and 7 graduate programs. The Spring Class of 2008 includes students from 47 of 50 states as well as Canada, Austria, and the United Kingdom.

The events begin Friday, May 9, at 6:00 p.m. in Finnegan Fieldhouse with the Baccalaureate Mass.

J. Francis Cardinal Stafford will be the celebrant and homilist and will receive an honorary doctorate of humanities for a lifetime of service to the Church, especially to the Holy Father, and for his championing of the integrity of Catholic education.

A native of Baltimore, Cardinal Stafford was formerly the bishop of Memphis and archbishop of Denver. In 1996 he was named president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and moved to Rome, where among his many duties he organized three World Youth Days. In 2003, he was named major penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary, for which he oversees matters involving indulgences, confession, and spiritual direction.

Commencement ceremonies begin Saturday, May 10 at 9:00 a.m., in Christ the King Chapel with the conferral of master’s diplomas in business, counseling, education, educational administration, nursing, philosophy, and theology. Dr. Janet Smith will give the main commencement address and receive an honorary doctor of Christian ethics. Smith has been a prophetic voice for the Church with her common-sense explanations of many of the Church’s pro-life principles.

In addition to teaching seminarians in Detroit, Smith is serving a second term as a consultor to the Pontifical Council on the Family. Several million people have heard her audio recording, “Contraception: Why Not?” which has been in constant circulation since 1994. She is the author of Humanae Vitae: A Generation Later and editor of Why Humanae Vitae Was Right: A Reader. She has also written over 70 scholarly and popular articles on fetal rights, abortion, contraception, sterilization, a Christian view of sex, and related topics.

Finnegan Fieldhouse will be the setting for the 11:30 a.m undergraduate commencement. This year, the greatest number of graduates will receive degrees in theology (116), nursing (48), business (46), catechetics (46), education, (36), mental health (35), philosophy (32), English (29), history (24), and communication arts (24).

Mother Mary Assumpta Long, OP, co-founder of one of the fastest growing religious orders for women in the U.S. will deliver the main commencement address and receive an honorary doctorate of humanities.

Mother Long co-founded the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in 1997, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, whose mission is to provide “Catholic education in the spirit of the new evangelization.” Mother Long also assisted the late John Cardinal O’Connor of New York in forming the Sisters of Life in the 1990s.

Also receiving honorary degrees at the undergraduate ceremonies will be two priests with local ties to Franciscan University, Father Ronan J. Deegan, TOR, and Monsignor Kurt H. Kemo.

Father Deegan was ordained to the priesthood in 1958 and is a member of the Third Order Regular, which governs Franciscan University. He holds the distinction of being the first graduate of the College of Steubenville (1954) to be ordained a TOR priest. A Navy veteran before entering religious life, Father Deegan has taught high school, served his religious order in several capacities, and is currently the pastor at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Moundsville, West Virginia. Father Deegan will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters.

Monsignor Kemo has served the Diocese of Steubenville since his ordination in 1983. He studied at the College of Steubenville while at St. John Vianney Seminary. He is currently the pastor of St. Joseph and St. Francis parishes in Toronto, Ohio, and is the vicar general of the Diocese of Steubenville as well as the diocesan finance officer and moderator of the curia. A long-time supporter of Franciscan University, he often gives lectures to students on canon law. Monsignor Kemo will receive an honorary doctorate of juris prudence.

For the first time, a second graduation ceremony will be held later this year. Scheduled for December 13, 2008, the event will be for students who complete their studies in August and December. The addition of a December commencement ceremony is intended to better meet the needs of August and December graduates and to ease overcrowding at the spring undergraduate ceremony.

Spring 2008 Commencement Schedule

Baccalaureate Mass
Friday, May 9, 6:00 p.m., Finnegan Fieldhouse, Open Admission

Graduate Commencement
Saturday, May 10, 9:00 a.m., Christ the King Chapel, Tickets Required

Undergraduate Commencement
Saturday, May 10, 11:30 a.m., Finnegan Fieldhouse, Tickets Required

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