St. Thomas announces commencement speakers for May 13 and 20 ceremonies

St. Thomas announces commencement speakers for May 13 and 20 ceremonies

Speakers have been announced for University of St. Thomas commencement celebrations next month:

School of Law: Minnesota Court of Appeals Judge Wilhelmina Wright will address School of Law graduates.

Wilhelmina Wright
Minnesota Court of Appeals Judge

Commencement ceremonies begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 13, in the Schulze Grand Atrium of the School of Law, located on Harmon Place between 11th and 12th streets in downtown Minneapolis. A reception follows for some 120 graduates – the law school’s largest graduating class to date – and their guests.

About the speaker: Wright was appointed by Gov. Jesse Ventura to the Minnesota Court of Appeals in 2002. She previously was a trial judge on the Ramsey County District Court. She is a member of the Minnesota Courts Public Trust and Confidence Working Group and serves on a Minnesota State Bar Association task force on professional conduct. A 1986 Yale University graduate, she received her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1989. Prior to joining the bench, Wright was an assistant U.S. attorney for the district of Minnesota. She was awarded the U.S. Department of Justice Special Achievement Award in 1997 and the U.S. Department of Justice Director’s Award for Public Service in 2000. She serves on the boards of William Mitchell College of Law and the Mardag Foundation, and she is a member of the Ramsey County Community Corrections Advisory Committee. She also is a member of Ramsey County, Hennepin County and Minnesota bar associations, Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, Minnesota Women Lawyers Advisory Committee and the National Association of Women Judges.

Commencement Mass will be held for all St. Thomas graduates, their families and guests at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 19, at the Cathedral of St. Paul, 239 Selby Ave., St. Paul. Father Dennis Dease, president of St. Thomas, will be the presider, and the university’s internationally known Liturgical Choir will sing.

Frances Hesselbein

Graduate exercises: Frances Hesselbein, chairman of the board of governors of the Leader to Leader Institute (formerly the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management), will be awarded an honorary degree and give the commencement address at ceremonies honoring nearly 300 recipients of graduate degrees awarded by St. Thomas’ Graduate School of Professional Psychology, School of Divinity, School of Education, College of Arts and Sciences and School of Engineering. (Ninety graduates from the joint School of Social Work of St. Thomas and the College of St. Catherine will be honored in ceremonies May 20 at St. Catherine.)

St. Thomas’ graduate commencement ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 20, in Schoenecker Arena on the St. Paul campus. A reception follows.

About the speaker: Hesselbein, 1998 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and many other awards for leadership, was chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. from 1976 to 1990 and  founding president of and CEO of the Leader-to-Leader Institute from 1990 to 2000. She has been appointed to two presidential commissions on community service and has presented sessions for leaders in numerous organizations ranging from Microsoft and Toyota to the National Urban League and the World Bank. She serves on many nonprofit and private-sector corporate boards and is chairman of the national board of directors for the Volunteers of America. She is editor-in-chief of the quarterly journal Leader to Leader, and co-editor of several books on leadership; the 1996 best-selling The Leader of the Future has been translated into 16 languages. Her book Hesselbein on Leadership was published in 2002. She is included in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Finance and Industry, Who’s Who of American Women and Who’s Who in the World.

Gregory Roberts

Baccalaureate exercises: Gregory Roberts, former vice president of student affairs at St. Thomas (1993-2003) who is now executive director and senior operating officer of the Washington, D.C.-based ACPA: College Student Educators International (formerly known as the American College Personnel Association), will be the speaker for baccalaureate ceremonies at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 20, in O’Shaughnessy Stadium on St. Thomas’ St. Paul campus. A reception follows on the university quadrangle for more than 780 graduates and their guests.

Roberts also will receive St. Thomas’ Distinguished Service Award for outstanding service to the community and the university.

About the speaker: Roberts leads ACPA, an 8,000 member international association for professionals, graduate faculty and graduate students involved in college student development and student learning in higher education. An author and educator, he is a past president of ACPA and the Missouri College Personnel Association. Prior to his time at St. Thomas, Roberts was assistant vice president for student affairs and director of student life for 12 years at Central Missouri State University and for five years at the College of New Jersey. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Indiana University, an Ed.S. (education specialist) degree from the University of Missouri and a certificate in educational management from Harvard University Graduate School of Education, with doctoral studies at the University of Missouri and University of Minnesota.

Michael Hoffman

College of Business graduate exercises: St. Thomas alumnus Michael Hoffman, chairman, president and CEO of the Toro Co., will address recipients of graduate degrees from St. Thomas’ College of Business. Ceremonies begin at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 20, in Schoenecker Arena on the St. Paul campus. A reception follows in Murray-Herrick Campus Center for 473 graduates and their guests.

Hoffman also will be awarded the St. Thomas Aquinas Medallion, which recognizes outstanding leadership of individuals who embody the values and ideals of the university's patron saint.

About the speaker: Hoffman, who earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing management from St. Thomas in 1988, was elected president of the Toro Co. in October 2004, chief executive officer in March 2005 and chairman of the company’s board in March 2006. He joined Toro in 1977, spend
ing several years in sales, service and marketing roles for commercial and consumer businesses. In recent years, he held top executive positions in general management of Toro’s commercial and consumer businesses. He was appointed group vice president of Toro’s consumer, landscape contractor and international businesses in 2002. Hoffman also has an M.B.A. from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management and serves on the boards of the Toro Foundation, Donaldson Co. Inc. and the Greater Twin Cities United Way.