|John Hofmeister to Speak about Sustainability, Leadership at UST Graduation|
Former Shell Oil President John Hofmeister will address the University of St. Thomas 2009 graduating class at the 59th Commencement Ceremony beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 16 at Reliant Arena, located at One Reliant Park. The ceremony will celebrate the achievements of 316 undergraduates and 427 graduate students. Commencement will be preceded by a Baccalaureate Mass held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, May 15 at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, 1111 Saint Joseph Pkwy. The celebrant is His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo.
Upon retirement from Shell Oil Company in July, 2008, Hofmeister founded and heads the nonprofit organization Citizens for Affordable Energy. This public policy education firm promotes sound U.S. energy security solutions for the nation, including a range of affordable energy supplies, efficiency improvements, essential infrastructure, sustainable environmental policies and public education on energy issues.
In his speech, “21st Century Leadership Challenge,” Hofmeister will draw from his 35 years of experience as an energy industry and community leader, as well as his current efforts to promote sustainable energy solutions, to impart words of wisdom and encouragement to graduates.
“The 21st century requires leadership capabilities similar to and different from the 20th century,” Hofmeister said. “Sustainability and authenticity were never more important to the future than now.”
Thomas Mendez will take the stage as the student commencement speaker. Mendez is an International Studies major, Spanish and Latin American and Latino Studies minor. Mendez’s speech entitled, “True Success,” explores how the UST experience and his mentors, especially the late Dr. Gustavo Wensjoe, helped him define success and love.
After graduation, Mendez plans to travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina in January of 2010, as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar to study economics for a year. The Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship is a $24,000 scholarship to serve as an ambassador of goodwill, representing Houston, Texas, and the United States. He plans to complete a master’s degree in economics and return to the United States to work in the field of international relations or public policy, and eventually pursue a law degree or a doctorate.
Honorary doctorates will be given to Bishop Vincent Rizzotto, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus and Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, for his lifelong support of the University and Catholic higher education. Former UST Board of Directors Chair Gloria Portela, senior counsel in the Houston office of Seyfarth Shaw, LLP, will also receive an honorary doctorate for her continued efforts to promote the University throughout the community. Bishop Rizzotto is a graduate of St. Thomas High School, St. Mary’s Seminary and the Catholic University of America. He served as Parishes in Houston and Port Arthur, most notably serving as Pastor of All Saints Parish, St. Francis de Sales and St. Cecilia Catholic Community. Portela has served on the board since 1999, and served as board chair from 2005-2007.
The Vincent J. Guinan Distinguished Alumni Award will be presented to the Rev. Jack Hanna, CSB, class of 1967, and his sister, Carol Hanna McCann, class of 1976. Since graduating from UST, Father Hanna has taught Spanish at UST and also currently teaches at St. Thomas High School. He has served on the UST board of directors representing the Basilian Fathers. More than 34 years ago, Fr. Hanna initiated the study abroad program in Mérida, Mexico, leading a group of UST students there each summer. He has also directed Sigma Delta Pi, the National Spanish Honor Society for nearly 30 years. For much of the 1970s and 80s, Fr. Hanna was the head of Campus Ministry. McCann, a current UST Master in Liberal Arts student, has been teaching the arts for more than
40 years, spending more than two decades at Theatre Under the Stars. Most recently, McCann taught the art of song and dance to children in Iraq through the Houston-based nonprofit organization called American Voices, in collaboration with the U.S. State Department and the Iraqi Ministry of Culture.
View more information about graduation at http://www.stthom.edu/graduation