University of St. Thomas announces commencement speakers for May 10 and 17 ceremonies

University of St. Thomas announces commencement speakers for May 10 and 17 ceremonies

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

Edward Toussaint Jr.
Chief Judge
Minnesota Court
of Appeals

School of Law: Minnesota Court of Appeals Chief Judge Edward Toussaint Jr. will address School of Law graduates. Commencement ceremonies begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 10, in the Schulze Grand Atrium of the School of Law, located on Harmon Place between 11th and 12th streets in downtown Minneapolis.

About the speaker: Toussaint, an adjunct faculty member at the St. Thomas School of Law, was appointed chief judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals in 1995 and was reappointed in 1998, 2001 and 2004. He was elected president of the Council of Chief Judges in 1998 and is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association, the Hennepin County Bar Association and the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers. He also serves on the board of directors of the African American Adoption Agency; the American Bar Association Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar Standards Review Committee. He received his law degree from DePaul University Law School.

Commencement Mass will be held for all St. Thomas graduates, their families and guests at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 16, 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.

Brother Louis DeThomasis, F.S.C.

Graduate exercises: Brother Louis DeThomasis, F.S.C., president of St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, will deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at ceremonies honoring 286 recipients of graduate degrees awarded by St. Thomas’ College of Applied Professional Studies, School of Divinity, College of Arts and Sciences and School of Engineering.

Ninety-four M.S.W. candidates in the joint School of Social Work of the University of St. Thomas and the College of St. Catherine will participate in ceremonies at the College of St. Catherine. 

St. Thomas’ graduate commencement ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 17, in Schoenecker Arena on the St. Thomas campus in St. Paul. A reception follows.

About the speaker: Since 1984 DeThomasis has guided his institution through a significant period of growth in enrollment, facilities and programs. Since 2005 he also has served as chancellor and Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Hendrickson Institute for Ethical Leadership at St. Mary’s, which is located   in Winona, Minn.

Megan and Dennis Doyle

Baccalaureate exercises: Megan Doyle, co-founder and board vice chairwoman of Hope for the City, an Edina-based nonprofit relief organization, will deliver the commencement address at St. Thomas’ baccalaureate ceremonies. The ceremonies, honoring 1,043 recipients of bachelor's degrees, begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 17, in O’Shaughnessy Stadium on St. Thomas’ St. Paul campus. A reception follows for graduates and their guests.

About the speaker: Doyle and her husband, Dennis, created Hope for the City in 2000 with one paid employee, a rented truck and a great idea: to fight poverty, hunger and disease by utilizing corporate surpluses. The organization, which now has eight employees and 30 volunteers, collects overstock products from top retailers, medical companies, and food distributors nationwide and donates the items to people in need locally, across the country and around the world.  Since its inception, Hope for the City has donated approximately $400 million in wholesale value of goods. Donations have included everything from lint rollers and shampoo to all the supplies necessary to start a hospital.

The Doyles also will be awarded honorary Doctor of Humanities degrees at the ceremonies.

Andrew Duff

Opus College of Business graduate ceremonies: Andrew Duff, chairman and chief executive officer of Piper Jaffray Companies, will address 354 recipients of graduate degrees from St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business. He also will receive the college’s Dean’s Medal.

Ceremonies begin at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 17, in Schoenecker Arena on the St. Paul campus. A reception follows for graduates and their guests.

About the speaker: Duff became chairman and CEO of Piper Jaffray Companies following completion of its spinoff from U.S. Bancorp in 2003. He has a long history of executive leadership in the company; he joined Piper Jaffray in 1980. He has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Tufts University and attended the Advanced Executive program at the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. He serves on the boards of Walker Art Center, Community Loan Technologies, Minneapolis Downtown Council and the Blake School in addition to the Opus College of Business’ Strategic Board of Governors.

For additional information: Graduating students and their guests are invited to visit St. Thomas’ commencement Web site,, for details on hotel accommodations, photography, parking, location changes in case of inclement weather and more.