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The Ave Herald

Serving the community of Ave Maria, Florida


AMU To Award Degrees to 133 This Weekend

More than 100 students are preparing for graduation exercises this weekend at Ave Maria University.

AMU will confer a total of 133 degrees -- 86 bachelor's degrees, 14 master's degrees, two doctorates and 31 Master of Theological Studies degrees from the university's Institute of Pastoral Theology.

Cardinal Sean O'Malley, archbishop of Boston, will preside at the Baccalaureate Mass at 5 p.m. Friday, and commencement exercises are at 10 a.m. Saturday. The commencement speaker is novelist Mary Higgins Clark, a supporter of numerous Catholic causes who has received a number of papal honors. Both Cardinal O'Malley and Mrs. Higgins Clark will receive honorary doctorate degrees, as will Catholic philanthropist Frank Hanna III.

The Mass and commencement will be held in the oratory and are open to the public.omalley2

Mrs. Higgins Clark also will be signing copies of her latest book The Shadow of Your Smile! Friday from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Ave Maria University Bookstore in the town center.

In addition to the Florida campus commencement, 82 students will graduate from the university’s Nicaraguan branch in a ceremony taking place on May 22, 2010.

Ave Maria University provided the following as background on the speakers and honorees:

Most Reverend Seán Cardinal O’Malley of Boston is a highly recognized and respected member of the Catholic Church who has dedicated nearly a half-century to Christian fellowship.  First joining the priesthood in 1965, Cardinal O’Malley has served numerous dioceses and held several leadership positions. Named to the College of Cardinals by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006,  Archbishop O’Malley holds both a master’s degree in religious education and a doctorate in Spanish and Portuguese literature from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he taught for several years.  He has served on numerous committees, including acting as Chairman of Missions and serving on the boards of directors for Catholic Relief Services and the Association for the Development of Catholic University of Portugal.  He has also served as Apostolic Visitator, or papal representative, for several seminaries in Central America and the Caribbean, and has been a leader in reconfiguring parishes and building up the archdiocese in recent years.

maryhigginsclarkMary Higgins Clark (left) is a bestselling-author whose books have sold more than 80 million copies in the U.S. alone.  Clark is a devoted Catholic who was named a Dame of the Order of St. Gregory the Great, Dame of Malta and a Lady of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.  She was honored with the Catholic Big Sisters Distinguished Service Award in 1998 and the Graymoor Award from the Franciscan Friars in 1999.

Frank Hanna III is a successful entrepreneur and banking merchant who regularly makes significant contributions to Catholic-based organizations.  Along with capital donations, he has contributed much time and effort to maintain a key role in the formation of three faith-based schools in Atlanta, one of which was recognized among the Top 50 Catholic High Schools in America.  Hanna has spoken to numerous groups and media on issues relating to faith and business, and he recently published a book titled What Your Money Means.


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