Award-winning professor and affordable-housing advocate are winter commencement speakers Dec. 15

Award-winning professor and affordable housing advocate are winter commencement speakers Dec. 15

The University of St. Thomas’ Professor of the Year and the retiring president of CommonBond Communities will address graduating students and their guests at St. Thomas’ winter commencement ceremonies on Friday, Dec. 15.

At baccalaureate ceremonies: Frank Coglitore, named the university’s 2006 Professor of the Year in March and a member of St. Thomas’ accounting faculty for the past 24 years, will speak at the baccalaureate ceremonies at 3 p.m. in Coughlan Field House.

Coglitore, of Lakeville, grew up in New York and remains a Yankees fan, something that comes in handy for starting good-natured arguments with his Twins-fan students. He majored in accounting and minored in philosophy at Fordham University in the Bronx, went on to receive an M.B.A. at Scranton University, and continued his studies at the University of Minnesota, where he held a teaching fellowship. When he took the certified public accountant exam in Minnesota, he received the Harold C. Utley Award for having the highest test score in the state.

After two years in the Army, Coglitore joined the faculty at Mankato State University, where he taught undergraduate and graduate courses in accounting from 1971 to 1976. He then spent five years at the international accounting firm KPMG, where he was a manager, and joined the St. Thomas accounting faculty in September 1982. 

At graduate ceremonies: Joe Errigo, who retires this month after 35 years as the first and only president of CommonBond Communities, will speak at graduate commencement ceremonies at 7 p.m. in Coughlan Field House.

Errigo also will receive St. Thomas’ John A. Ryan Award for outstanding contributions in social justice. Read the citation.

CommonBond Communities, founded by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 1971, is the largest nonprofit provider of affordable housing in the Upper Midwest. It houses more than 6,000 people in 67 communities made up of 4,000 apartments and townhomes for families, seniors and special needs residents, such as people living with HIV/AIDS and people with developmental disabilities. CommonBond communities are located in 35 municipalities in greater Minnesota, the Twin Cities metropolitan area and Milwaukee, Wis. CommonBond Communities has received awards from the Minnesota Multi-Housing Association, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Catholic Charities.

Errigo, of St. Paul, grew up in Wilmington, Del. He has a master’s degree in city and regional planning from the University of  North Carolina (1968) and a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the Catholic University of America (1966). In 1996 he was awarded a Fannie Mae Foundation Fellowship to attend the Program for Senior Executives at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He was named Minnesota’s Socially Responsible Entrepreneur of the Year in 1992 by a coalition of business organizations. In 1999, Rotary International named him an honorary Paul Harris Fellow for "service above self."

Errigo previously worked for the St. Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Urban Affairs Commission of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. He has taught at St. Thomas and at the University of Minnesota, the College of St. Catherine, Macalester College and Metropolitan State University, and serves on numerous boards of directors of private and public sector organizations.

More information: The university will award 220 bachelor’s degrees at the undergraduate commencement exercises and 475 graduate degrees (master’s, doctoral and education specialist) at the graduate ceremonies. The ceremonies will be preceded by a Commencement Mass at 1:30 p.m. in the university’s Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas. Receptions for graduates and their families will follow each commencement ceremony.