2012 Commencement

The Catholic Studies Department congratulates its fall and spring graduates and wishes them the best in their new careers and future endeavors.

The Catholic Studies Department congratulates its fall and spring graduates and wishes them the best in their new careers and future endeavors.

Undergraduate Program

This spring 60 Catholic Studies majors and 16 Catholic Studies minors will graduate from St. Thomas for a total of 76 students graduating with a major or minor in Catholic Studies.

Of the 60 majors, 50 are double majors and five are triple majors. These students have combined Catholic Studies with such fields as education, psychology, communication/ journalism, English, history, Latin, Spanish and computer and information science and philosophy.

A special congratulations goes to the 40 students who have earned Latin honors. Nine students will graduate cum laude, 20 will graduate magna cum laude and 11 are candidates for summa cum laude. Students must pass an oral exam in late spring in order to graduate summa cum laude.

Furthermore, graduating seniors took advantage of studying abroad in Rome during their time at St. Thomas. About 72 percent of this year’s graduating seniors spent at least one semester in the Catholic Studies/Angelicum program in Rome.

Our departing seniors will move to graduate and professional study, careers and missions, among other areas. Following are a few of these seniors and their post-graduation plans.

Paula Thelen is a triple major in education, Catholic Studies and theology. During her four years at St. Thomas, she spent a semester abroad in the Catholic Studies/Angelicum program in Rome, student taught during the fall semester of her senior year and was the editor for the Catholic Studies student newsletter. She is a summa cum laude candidate and plans to teach in a Catholic high school after graduation.

Sara Kovach will graduate with a communication and journalism major and Catholic Studies minor. She plans to work for a news organization around the Cleveland, Ohio, area.

Joseph Markin, a Catholic Studies and philosophy double major, will join a Franciscan order in the Twin Cities after graduation.

Jake Nelson is a double major in Catholic Studies and English. He plans to work as a full-time missionary for St. Paul’s Outreach.

Alison Coffman, a double major in English teacher education and Catholic Studies, is entering the ACE program at Notre Dame.

Robert Adams, a Catholic Studies and philosophy double major, will attend major seminary at the North American College in Rome, Italy.

Laura Carlson will graduate with a major in general business management and a minor in Catholic Studies. She will work at the Best Buy headquarters as a demand planning analyst.

Sarah DeCock, an education and Catholic Studies double major, plans on entering the Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus after graduation. The Handmaids are a newly formed religious order in the Diocese of New Ulm (see p. 22).

Michael Musielewicz is a double major in Catholic Studies and philosophy. He will attend Catholic University of America to study canon law.

Michael Truso will graduate with a double major in computer and information science and Catholic Studies. He will work for United Health Group as an IT business analyst.

Dominic Bouck will graduate with a B.A. in Catholic Studies and philosophy. He has applied for admission into the Order of Preachers of the St. Joseph Province (Eastern Province Dominicans).

Graduate Program

Seventeen students graduated from the master’s program this year: three in the summer, four in the fall and 10 in the spring. Their names and essay titles are:


Sister Anne Frances Klein, O.P., “Sacramental Graces in the Friendships of Dom Hubert Van Zeller, O.S.B.”

Sister Mary Albert Gasparski, O.P., “Veluti si Deus Daretur: An Answer for the Scientist”

Sister Kathleen Marie Battersby, O.P., “Familaris Consortio: An Interdisciplinary Analysis”


Tim Regan, “The Warm Wind: Climate, Geography and Social Change in the High Middle Ages”

Father Mark Moriarty, “John Paul II, the Revolution of 1989 and the Crisis of Western Secular Culture”

Brett Forsman, “Christology Within the Levitical Atonement”

Eric Simon, “Implementing Principles of the Catholic Social Tradition to Provide Clarity and Direction to the Israeli/Palestinian Settlement Issue”


Per Hansen, “The Morality of Spectator Sports”

Jessica Zittlow, “The Women’s Right Dialectic of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals Analyzed Through the Lens of Catholic Social Thought”

William LeMire, “The Catholic Church Plays an Indispensible Role In Guiding Answers To Public Policy Questions Which Implicate Human Dignity”

Jacob Rhein, “Raphael Hythloday as the Subject of More’s Utopia”

Laura Leonard, “The Imagination in the Thought of Russell Kirk”

Tim DeCelle, “The Power of the Victim: Rene Girard’s ‘Scapegoat’ and a Catholic/Cultural Studies Dialogue”

Julie Lasher, “Meaning of Human Suffering in Flannery O’Connor’s Short Stories and John Paul II’s ‘Salvifici Doloris’”

Nadine Friederichs, “Work and Family in the Thought of John Paul II”

Courtney Gregar, “Key Divergences Between the Principles of the Western Educational Tradition and Modern Progressive Education”

John Balk, “Understanding the Masculine Essence”

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