Speakers Announced for 2015 Commencement Ceremonies

Commencement 2015

Speakers and details have been announced for the University of St. Thomas commencement exercises.

A website devoted to commencement can be viewed here. About 2,100 graduate and undergraduate students will participate in the ceremonies.


The ceremony for non-business graduate students will be held 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 23, in the field house of the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex.

Carolyn Woo

Carolyn Woo

Dr. Carolyn Woo, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States, will be the commencement speaker. The university will present to her an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Woo immigrated to the United States to attend Purdue University, where she received her B.S., M.S.I.A. and Ph.D. degrees and later became a faculty member. After a long and notable career in academia, Woo came to her current position in January 2012.

Woo's service includes various board positions for AON Corp., NiSource, Catholic Charities USA, the Aileron Foundation, the University of Portland, the University of Notre Dame Australia and the Archdiocese of Baltimore Independent Child Abuse Review Board. She also serves on the Executive Council on Development of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on its International Policy Committee and for its Migration and Refugee Services.


Mark Crea '78

Mark Crea '78

The ceremony for St. Thomas undergraduates will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 23, outdoors in O’Shaughnessy Stadium.

Mark Crea '78, executive director and CEO of Feed My Starving Children, a Minnesota-based nonprofit Christian organization "committed to feeding God’s children hungry in body and spirit," will be the commencement speaker.

Crea began his career with the Hazelden Foundation after graduating from St. Thomas with a degree in business and economics. He began there as an intern his senior year and left 17 years later as the foundation's national sales and marketing director. Soon after he accepted a position as director of development at Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life.

He was recruited to helm Feed My Starving Children in 2004 when the organization was rededicating its mission back to its original, Christian-based roots. Since then it has grown 48 percent annually, growing from 3 million meals in 2003 to 229 million meals in 2014 with nearly 900,000 volunteers. Last year FMSC produced its 1 billionth meal and has plans this year to produce over 270 million meals with 1 million volunteers.

In the event weather does not permit the ceremony to be held in the stadium, an announcement will be posted on the commencement website, Facebook and by text message (see information below about receiving text messages) by 11:30 a.m. the day of the ceremony. The rain site is the field house of the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex. Seating in the field house is limited, and rain-plan tickets are required for admission. Visit the Undergraduate Commencement website and then click on Sever Weather Plan for more details. Video viewing locations around campus also will be available for additional guests.

To receive text messages about conditions for the undergraduate commencement ceremony, text “TASSEL” to 80077 (more information). You will receive up to 10 messages pertaining to the ceremony. (Regular rates and conditions will apply based on your carrier agreement.) This is a no-reply text messaging system, and recipients will not receive a response if they reply directly to these messages. For help email ustalumniweb@stthomas.edu.

Graduate business

Archie Black

Archie Black

The ceremony for graduate-level business students will be held 7 p.m. Saturday, May 23, in the field house of the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex. The commencement speaker is Archie Black, president and CEO, SPS Commerce, the retail industry’s largest trading community with more than 60,000 customers in over 50 countries.

Black is one of the pioneers of cloud computing and has led SPS Commerce with a vision to transform the retail industry by replacing traditional enterprise software technology with a more responsive, agile cloud platform. Under his leadership, SPS Commerce has experienced 56 consecutive quarters of increased revenues and expanded its international presence to include offices throughout North America, Asia, Australia and Europe.

His past work experience includes auditor with Price Waterhouse and senior vice president and chief financial officer at Investment Advisers, where he helped the company grow from $3 billion under management to $17 billion. He serves on the board of Benilde-St. Margaret's School.

School of Law

Jessica Slattery

Jessica Slattery

Ceremonies for School of Law graduates were held 1 p.m. Saturday, May 16 in the Minneapolis Convention Center. The commencement speaker was Jessica Slattery '06 J.D., a foreign affairs officer in the U.S. State Department who works in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

She holds a B.A. in management and communications from College of Saint Benedict, an M.A. in international relations from the University of Tartu in Estonia, and an M.A. in international relations and affairs from Collegium Civitas in Poland.

Commencement Mass

The annual Commencement Mass will be celebrated 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 22, at the Cathedral of St. Paul, 239 Selby Ave.