Speakers impart knowledge at local colleges

Many students at the three Catholic colleges in the Archdiocese of Baltimore are approaching the end of their education journeys.

Before they do, however, the students are receiving extra lessons on life from commencement speakers.

Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg hosted its 201st graduation ceremony May 10 and George Weigel delivered the address at Knott Arena. The senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., is a New York Times bestselling author whose syndicated column appears in The Catholic Review.

Dr. Thomas H. Powell, president of the Mount, said the school was “honored and excited” by Weigel’s participation in the Mount’s graduation.

“As our seniors head out into the world, Mr. Weigel’s words will reinforce to our graduates the same principles they have learned here at the Mount: Be strong, ethical and conscious leaders,” Powell said.

Weigel, a native of Baltimore, wrote “Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II” in 1999 and has authored 19 other books.

More than 1,600 baccalaureate and advanced degrees are scheduled to be conferred May 16 at Baltimore’s 1st Mariner Arena for Loyola College in Maryland’s ceremony. The 157th commencement will be the last for the school under its current designation. When fall semester begins, it will be rechristened Loyola University Maryland.

The commencement address is to be delivered by Santa Clara University professor and author Ron Hansen. He will also receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.

Jesuit Father Brian Linnane, Loyola’s president, called Hansen “one of the country’s leading contemporary Catholic writers.”

Hansen’s 2008 book, Exiles, tells the story of five nuns shipwrecked in 1875 and how it inspired Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins.

“It was particularly appealing to me that his most recent book focuses on the work of 19th century Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins,” Father Linnane said. “As such, I believe he has a unique understanding of our mission as a Jesuit institution and will offer our graduating students a message that will prove very meaningful as they commence this next phase in their lives.”

Hansen wrote the 1983 novel “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” which was turned into a movie in recent years.

Ken Hackett, president of Baltimore-based Catholic Relief Services, will deliver an address to nearly 800 College of Notre Dame of Maryland students at the Baltimore Convention Center May 23. The graduates will come from the school’s women’s college, accelerated college, weekend college and graduate studies programs. It is the first year the school will award a master’s in science degree for nursing.

Notre Dame President Dr. Mary Pat Seurkamp said Hackett “has provided exceptional leadership and service to the global community through Catholic Relief Services. His message to our graduates will be rich in meaning by providing both a local and global perspective linking Catholic social teaching with strong examples of service and justice through humanitarian aid.”

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.