Speakers to encourage graduates

The area's Catholic colleges and universities will kick off graduation season beginning May 10, and the ceremonies will honor a variety of speakers for their contributions to the Church, public service and journalism.

Marymount University in Arlington will hold commencement exercises May 10 at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.

Gwen Ifill, moderator and managing editor of Washington Week, will deliver the undergraduate commencement address, and will be awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters in recognition of her contributions to journalism.

Ifill, also a senior correspondent for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS), has covered six presidential campaigns and has worked as a chief congressional and political correspondent for NBC News. Ifill's most recent book, The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama, is a bestseller.

Marymount's graduate commencement exercises will feature Robert M. Kimmitt, former deputy U.S. treasury secretary, who will offer the address. Kimmitt served as deputy treasury secretary from August 2005 until January. He is also a former U.S. ambassador to Germany, under secretary of state for political affairs and deputy assistant to the president for national security affairs.

Kimmitt, a graduate of West Point, served with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam, and retired in 2004 from the U.S. Army Reserve with the rank of major general. Kimmitt will receive an honorary doctorate in humane letters.

During commencement ceremonies May 16, Christendom College in Front Royal will honor Father Frank Pavone with its Pro Deo et Patria Medal for distinguished service to God and country. Father Pavone, who was ordained in 1988 for the Diocese of Amarillo, Texas, is the national director of Priests for Life, and serves full-time in pro-life ministry.

The college's commencement speaker will be Jude Dougherty, dean emeritus of the school of philosophy at Catholic University in Washington. Dougherty has written more than 100 articles and has written or edited many books in multiple languages on topics in metaphysics, the philosophy of science, and social and political philosophy. He will receive an honorary doctorate.

Also May 16, Catholic University will hold its graduation ceremonies on the east steps of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., at 10 a.m.

Raymond W. Kelly, New York City police commissioner, will address Catholic's graduates and will be awarded an honorary degree. Kelly was appointed commissioner by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2002, making him the first commissioner to serve a second, non-consecutive term. Kelly previously served as commissioner from 1992-94.

Between commissioner appointments, Kelly worked as senior managing director of global corporate security for Bear Stearns & Co.; commissioner of U.S. Customs Service and undersecretary for enforcement at the U.S. Treasury Department. Kelly is also a retired colonel in the Marine Corps Reserves.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2009