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Cardinal Dolan to Address University of St. Thomas Graduates

Known for his charismatic media personality and commitment to Catholic values, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, will present the keynote address at the 2017 University of St. Thomas Commencement at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 20, 2017 at NRG Arena, 1 NRG Park.

The University of St. Thomas will grant degrees to 950 students, including the first graduates of the University’s new Master in Clinical Translation Management.

Cardinal Dolan Brings Influence to Catholic Issues
Cardinal Dolan has served as archbishop of New York since 2009. Previously, he was archbishop of Milwaukee. In 2012, Time magazine named Cardinal Dolan one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World,” recognizing his influence in putting the Catholic Church back into the center of the national political conversation in defense of religious liberties.
Cardinal Timothy DolanHe served as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2010 to 2013, and he was appointed to the College of Cardinals by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012.

Following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Dolan participated in the Conclave that elected Pope Francis in March 2013. That year, Pope Francis named the Cardinal a member of the Congregation for Catholic Education. He is also a member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization and the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. He is on the Board of Trustees of The Catholic University of America.

UST President Robert Ivany said it an honor to welcome the Cardinal Dolan to UST’s graduation ceremony.

“He has brought the truth of the Gospel to countless men and women through his joyful personality, quick wit and his popular homilies at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City,” Ivany said. “Cardinal Dolan's insights and enthusiasm for our faith and for the dignity of all will find an appreciative audience in our dedicated graduates.”

Cardinal and Scientist to Receive Honorary Degrees
The University will present honorary doctorates to Cardinal Dolan, as well as Mauro Ferrari, Ph.D, executive vice president of Houston Methodist and the president and CEO of the Houston Methodist Research Institute, or HMRI.

Ferrari was instrumental in the establishment of the Master in Clinical Translation Management Program, a partnership between UST and HMRI.

He taught a course in the innovative master’s degree program, drawing on his foundational knowledge of biomedical nano/micro-technology, especially in their applications to drug delivery, cell transplantation, implantable bioreactors and other innovative therapeutic modalities.

He is the Ernest Cockrell Jr. Presidential Distinguished Chair at HMRI, and he is director of the Houston Methodist Institute for Academic Medicine.

He has to his credit more than 500 publications, including seven books, and is the inventor of 30 issued patents in the United States and Europe.

Ferrari presented the 2014 Archbishop J. Michael Miller Lecture at UST and served on the board of the UST Strategic Planning Committee in 2015.

Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award
The UST Alumni Association selected Kelli Kickerillo ’03 to receive this year’s Rev. Vincent J. Guinan, CSB, Distinguished Alumni of the Year award. Kickerillo is a marketing alumna and served on the UST Alumni Board of Directors for almost 12 years, two of those as Alumni Association President.
Pictured L to R: Vincent and Mary Kickerillo, Kelli Kickerillo, Todd ForresterDuring her time on the Alumni Board, Kickerillo helped to create the UST Fashion Show, which supported the Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship to become fully endowed. She co-chaired the 2012 Mardi Gras Gala, which netted more than $1 million for scholarships. She was also instrumental in the creation of the Two Saints and a Taco Tasting fundraiser, which was founded during her term as Alumni Association president and has since raised $300,000 over five years.

She currently serves as chief marketing officer and executive vice president for Kickerillo Homes. She is married to fellow UST alumnus, Todd Forester ’03, and they have a son, Harrison.

Alumni Association President Daniel Garcia said Kickerillo’s service and dedication to UST reflects “her love and passion for the University and the success of its students and alumni.”

Student Commencement Speaker
Stephanie T. Canahuati, International Development, has single-mindedly pursued becoming the student commencement speaker for nearly a year.

“I have written five versions of the speech,” Canahuati said. “I’m not going to lie, I started working on it over the summer. I’ve wanted this for a while.”

The speech tells her story at St. Thomas, highlighting the people who made a difference in her college experiencing and emphasizing her sense of pride in being a Celt. What she most wants students to gain from her speech is how grateful she is for her experience.

Canahuati came to St. Thomas a stranger to the country and culture.  She had no friends or family to rely on and possessed nothing more than a desire to help her home country,  Honduras.

At St. Thomas Canahuati flourished. She studied abroad in the Czech Republic with Dr. Ulyses Balderas; assistant professor of international studies, and currently serves as the vice president for the International Studies Society. She was elected president of Sigma Iota Roe, the international studies honor society and was an active member of the social entrepreneurship program. She also interns for the Institute for International Education.

Canahuati knows her mother has been integral to her success.

“I am an only child and it has been my mom and I against the world through everything,” Canahuati said. “The love and unconditional support she has given me is something I am grateful for and it is something that I want her to know.”

After graduation, Canahuati is planning on working for a few years before returning to school to study for a master’s degree in international relations or international education. Ultimately, she wants to build her own social enterprise and aide Honduras in its development.

Graduation Information
The University of St. Thomas Commencement is a ticketed event. For more information, visit

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