St. Norbert College Commencement speaker, honorary degrees, area candidates for graduation

From St. Norbert College, April 28, 2010
by Mike Counter, mike.counter@snc.edu, (920) 403-3089

Gwen Ifill, acclaimed journalist, author and moderator of PBS' "Washington Week in Review," will be the St. Norbert College Commencement speaker on Sunday, May 16, 2010, at 1:30 p.m. in Schuldes Sports Center on the college's De Pere campus. Ifill will also receive an honorary degree from the college.

The best-selling author of "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama" (Doubleday 2009), Ifill also moderated the vice presidential debates during the elections in 2004 and 2008.

William N. Auriemma '77, chair of the St. Norbert College board of trustees, will authorize the conferring of baccalaureate and master's degrees; St. Norbert College President Thomas Kunkel will award the degrees and diplomas with the assistance of Michael Marsden, dean of the college and academic vice president. There are 493 students in the 2010 graduating class, including 475 candidates for baccalaureate degrees and 18 candidates for master's degrees.

The Right Reverend Gary J. Neville, O.Praem., '73, abbot of St. Norbert Abbey, will deliver the Commencement prayer and the Most Reverend Robert Morneau, auxiliary bishop of Green Bay, will deliver the Benediction.

The student speaker at Commencement is graduating senior Patrick Sutherland, of St. Paul, Minn. Sutherland is a business administration and philosophy major who plans to pursue a career in professional sports marketing or public relations.

The national anthem will be sung by graduating senior Jason Van Dyn Hoven, of Combined Locks, Wis. At the close of the ceremony, the entire audience will join in singing the St. Norbert College "Alma Mater" with graduating senior Andrea Cress of Park Falls Wis., serving as student honor conductor.


Honorary Degrees to Be Awarded to Bart and Cherry Starr, Others

The college will present four honorary doctoral degrees at this year's Commencement. Gwen Ifill, the speaker, will be awarded the Honorary Doctor of Laws degree for her life's work in print and broadcast journalism and political commentary. She stands as one of the most influential women in the United States and one of the most respected commentators of our time.

Ifill has covered six presidential campaigns, and during the 2008 campaign season, brought "Washington Week in Review" to live audiences around the country as part of a 10-city tour.

A native of New York City and a graduate of Simmons College in Boston, Ifill has received more than a dozen honorary degrees. She has also been honored for her work by the Radio and Television News Directors Association, Harvard's Joan Shorenstein Center, Ebony Magazine and Boston's Ford Hall Forum.

She serves on the boards of the Harvard University Institute of Politics and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Bart and Cherry Starr will receive Honorary Doctor of Laws degrees in recognition of having lived their lives as shining examples of the Norbertine value of self-emptying service to their community.

Bart Starr was the keystone of one of the most memorable sports teams in American history. As part of the 1960s Green Bay Packers teams that helped make the NFL what it is today, Starr won five NFL championships, including the first two Super Bowls. He was named the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player twice, and was the NFL's Most Valuable Player for the 1966 season. In 1973, his Number 15 was the third to be retired by the Packers, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977. Mr. Starr served as the Packers' head coach from 1975 through 1983, capturing a division title in 1982. Since 1989, Athletes in Action has named its annual award to a player of outstanding Christian character in his honor.

In 1965, Bart and Cherry Starr played an instrumental role in the founding of Rawhide Ranch, a faith-based, non-profit residential care center for troubled teen boys near New London, Wisconsin.

The Starrs were invited to serve as honorary chairpersons for the first annual Vince Lombardi Memorial Golf Classic held in 1970 and for the past forty years, they have worked behind the scenes to help the Vince Lombardi Charitable Fund in its fight against cancer. Their service has been central to raising over $13 million since Coach Lombardi's untimely passing.

The Starrs returned to Birmingham, Alabama, in 1989, where Cherry Starr has been involved in numerous charitable activities, including the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. They celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary in 2009.

Bishop Robert Morneau has been chosen by the board of trustees of St. Norbert College to be awarded the Honorary Doctor of Laws degree for his life's spiritual work and his dedication to St. Norbert College.

Robert Morneau has served others for more than thirty years as auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Green Bay. He currently serves as pastor of Resurrection Parish in Allouez. He is a prolific writer who has published more than forty books in theology, spirituality and poetry, including "The Color of Gratitude and Other Spiritual Surprises," "A New Heart: Eleven Qualities of Holiness," and "Pathways to Relationships: Four Weeks on Simplicity, Gentleness, Humility, and Friendship." He is also known for his practice of memorizing a poem each day.

Bishop Morneau has been a member of the St. Norbert College board of trustees since 1980, and in that time has helped guide the college through his wisdom, his inspiring insights, and his timely humor.