Speakers Announced for 2013 Commencement Ceremonies

Commencement 2013

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.


Father Michael O'Connell

Father Michael O'Connell

The ceremony for nonbusiness graduate students will be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 25, in the field house of the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex.

Father Michael O’Connell, pastor of the Church of the Ascension in North Minneapolis, will be the commencement speaker. O’Connell has been the pastor of Ascension since 1999. He served as rector of the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis from 1991 to 2008. He has a B.A. degree in philosophy from the St. Paul Seminary, an M.A. degree in pastoral studies from the University of St. Thomas, and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn.

O’Connell serves on several community and foundation boards, including those of the Habitat for Humanity Philanthropic Leadership Council, the Hazelden Foundation, the Jeremiah Program (national), and Robins, Kaplan, Miller and Ciresi LLP Foundation for Children.


The ceremony for St. Thomas undergraduates will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 25, outdoors in O’Shaughnessy Stadium.

Father Dennis Dease

Father Dennis Dease

Father Dennis Dease, president of the University of St. Thomas, will be the commencement speaker.

Dease became the 14th president of St. Thomas in 1991.

He recently led the Opening Doors capital campaign, which raised $515 million. It was the largest campaign ever conducted by a private institution of higher learning in the five-state area.

The money raised was more than all previous St. Thomas campaigns combined.

During his tenure as president, the university has:

  • Established a Minneapolis campus and constructed four buildings.
  • Constructed nine major buildings on the St. Paul campus, including a student center, an athletic and recreation complex, a science and engineering center, an undergraduate business building and two new apartment-style residence halls.
  • Opened a Rome campus.
  • Started academic programs in law, Catholic studies, mechanical and electrical engineering, entrepreneurship and Irish studies, and greatly increased study-abroad participation with semesterlong programs based in London and Rome.
  • Tripled, to 14 percent, the student-of-color population.
  • Tripled the number of international students who attend St. Thomas.

Dease will retire as president on June 30, upon completion of his 22nd year in office.

In the event that 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. on 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. Open the Undergraduate Commencement pages and then click on Rain Plan for more details.

To receive text messages about conditions for the undergraduate commencement ceremony, text “TASSEL” to 80077. 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

Graduate business

Randall Hogan

Randall Hogan

The ceremony for graduate-level business students will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 25, in the field house of the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex. The commencement speaker is Randall Hogan, chairman and CEO of Pentair, a global leader in delivering industry-leading products, services and solutions for its customers’ diverse needs in water and other fluids, thermal management and equipment protection.

He was named Pentair’s CEO in 2001 and appointed chairman in 2002. In 2012, Hogan was named Executive of the Year by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. He received the 2011 Starkey Hearing Foundation Award for Pentair’s contributions to providing clean water solutions in third-world countries and in times of natural disasters.

School of Law

Ceremonies for School of Law graduates were held Saturday, May 11.

Commencement Mass

The annual Commencement Mass will be celebrated at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 24, at the Cathedral of St. Paul, 239 Selby Ave.