St. Norbert College announces commencement speaker, honorary degrees

Sunday, May 13, at 1:30 p.m.

From St. Norbert College, May 2, 2012
by Mike Counter, mike.counter@snc.edu, (920) 403-3089

Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago, will be the St. Norbert College commencement speaker on Sunday, May 13, at 1:30 p.m. in Schuldes Sports Center on the college's De Pere campus. Cardinal George will also receive an honorary degree from the college.

William N. Auriemma, 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 Jeffrey Frick, dean of the college and academic vice president. There are 485 students in the 2012 graduating class, including 455 candidates for baccalaureate degrees and 16 candidates for master's degrees.

The Most Reverend David Ricken, Bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay, will deliver the benediction.

The student speaker at commencement is graduating senior Joanna Holzhaeuser of Ashland, Wis. During her time at St. Norbert, Holzhaeuser worked as a writing center consultant and resident assistant. She was involved in the St. Norbert Times newspaper her entire college career and has dabbled in music and theater. Holzhaeuser spent a semester studying abroad in Wales. She is graduating with a degree in English and certification in secondary education. She plans to work as a high school English teacher.

The national anthem will be sung by graduating senior Brad Scatterday of Aurora, Ill. At the close of the ceremony, the entire audience will join in singing the St. Norbert College "Alma Mater," with graduating senior Jamie Grabner of Sheboygan, Wis., serving as student honor conductor.

Honorary Degrees to Be Awarded
The college will present three honorary doctoral degrees at this year's commencement. Francis Cardinal George, the speaker, will be awarded the Honorary Doctor of Laws degree for his life's work in the Catholic faith and higher education.

Cardinal George entered the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate on August 14, 1957. He studied theology at the University of Ottawa, Canada, and was ordained a priest by the Most Rev. Raymond P. Hillinger on December 21, 1963, at St. Pascal Church. He went on to earn a master's degree in philosophy from the Catholic University of America in 1965; a doctorate in American philosophy at Tulane University in 1970; and a master's degree in theology from the University of Ottawa in 1971. During those years, he also taught philosophy at the Oblate Seminary, Pass Christian, Miss. (1964-69); Tulane University (1968); and Creighton University (1969-73).

He served as provincial superior of the Midwestern Province for the Oblates from 1973 to 1974, and as vicar general of the Oblates in Rome from 1974 to 1986. He returned to the United States to coordinate the Circle of Fellows for the Cambridge Center for the Study of Faith and Culture in Cambridge, Mass., from 1987-90, during which time he obtained a Doctorate of Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Urban University in Rome. Pope John Paul II appointed him bishop of Yakima, Wash., on July 10, 1990, and archbishop of Portland, Ore., on April 30, 1996. Less than a year later, on April 8, 1997, he was named the eighth archbishop of Chicago, the first native Chicagoan to serve in that capacity. On Jan. 18, 1998, Pope John Paul II announced Archbishop George's elevation to the Sacred College of Cardinals. In November 2007, Cardinal George was elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for a three-year term.

The Reverend Rowland De Peaux, O.Praem; is the recipient this year of the highest academic honor the college can bestow, the degree of Doctor of Laws, for his personal and professional accomplishments and exemplary record of service to St. Norbert College, the Norbertine order and the community.

A dedicated and inspiring teacher, Fr. De Peaux first taught French at St. Norbert College in 1948-49, when there was a large influx of GIs from World War II. He then taught at St. Norbert High School, Southeast Catholic High School, Bishop Neumann High School in Philadelphia and at Premontre High School in Green Bay. In 1960, Fr. De Peaux returned to St. Norbert College to teach French and Spanish.

Fr. DePeaux's career included 26 years as director of the language laboratory on the campus, and he served as chair of the department of modern foreign languages. In addition to his teaching and administrative duties, he served as prefect in Berne (Burke) Hall and in Sensenbrenner Hall. He also served as the house superior of St. Joseph Priory and as advisor for the Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity. Fr. De Peaux retired as professor of French and Spanish in 1991 when he was awarded the title of Professor Emeritus.

He was appointed to the alumni board in 1994 and continues to serve as the alumni board chaplain. He received the college's prestigious Alma Mater award in 2002. Fr. De Peaux is widely respected by his former students, fellow faculty, Norbertines and alumni. He is still very active in parish ministry and is a lifelong and passionate international traveler. His other love is music: He has performed in various music/theatre productions on campus and has been singing with the Dudley Birder Chorale for 38 years.

William Auriemma, a 1977 graduate of St. Norbert College, has been chosen by the board of trustees to be awarded the honorary Doctor of Laws degree for his many professional accomplishments and for his steadfast commitment, loyalty and service to his alma mater.

After graduation, Auriemma worked for National Can Corporation in Los Angeles and Chicago before joining Diversified CPC as a regional sales manager in 1980. Diversified CPC is a leading manufacturer and distributer of high-purity specialty gases and propellants to every major consumer product company in the U.S., Europe and Asia. In 1995, Auriemma led a management buy-out of the company and he became the president and CEO of Diversified CPC in 1999.

Auriemma is involved in many industry trade groups. He serves as chairman of the board of the Consumer Aerosol Products Council in Washington, D.C., and as treasurer of the Alliance for Consumer Education, which is a nonprofit organization founded in 2000.

Elected to the St. Norbert College board of trustees in 2000, Auriemma served as chair of the finance committee and most recently as chair of the board, from 2009-2012. During his tenure, he was instrumental in developing funding strategies for the Mulva Library, Todd Wehr Hall and Gries Hall projects. At St. Norbert, he also served in other leadership positions -- on the capital campaign planning committee, the national alumni board and the president's task force.