Monday, May 9, 2016

STU Names Spring Commencement Speakers, Honorary Degree Recipients

The Honorable Marcia Cooke, a U.S. district judge; Rev. John T. Butler, a proud St. Thomas University alumnus and a leader in Catholic education; and Emilio Cueto, a Santo Thomas de Villanueva alumnus known for his preservation of all things Cuban, will be honored at STU’s commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 14.

Cooke and Butler are also the commencement speakers for the law and main university commencement, respectively.

Cooke will address the law school’s more than 200 graduates during the school’s 9 a.m. commencement ceremony. Cooke, a native of Detroit, is an experienced trial attorney and lawyer who has held a variety of positions in the public sector. In addition to her responsibilities as a U.S. district judge, she is an adjunct professor at STU’s law school. During the ceremony she will be honored with the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.

Butler, better known as Father Jack, is vice president for university mission and ministry at Boston College, and an STU alumnus. Prior to working in higher education, Father Jack was counseling and spiritually guiding violent offenders and those dealing with addiction in correctional facilities. Father Jack will address 425 graduates during the main university commencement ceremony beginning at 2 p.m. He will be presented with an honorary doctoral degree in Humane Letters.

Cueto, who is an alumnus of Santo Thomas de Villanueva – STU’s original site in Havana, Cuba - will also receive an honorary doctoral degree in Humane Letters during the main university commencement. Cueto, who’s extensive collection of Cuban memorabilia can be found in his adjoining two-apartment home turned museum in D.C., has been written about extensively in publications such as the Washington Post.

STU is committed to graduating leaders for life. The following are examples of some of the leaders graduating this weekend.
  • Originally from Argentina, Ariel Listo, is an economics major graduating with double minors in international relations and mathematics. This past summer, he attended the London School of Economics, one of the most prestigious schools in the world, and successfully completed his course work there. This summer he will be doing an internship at the United Nations in New York.
  • Soledad Filgueira, also from Argentina, came to STU for an MBA in global entrepreneurship. Last year, her all-woman team from STU won first place in the national 2015 KeyBank Foundation Minority MBA Case Competition – besting the top business schools and universities in the nation, including Yale, American University, Penn State, Boston College, and UC-Berkeley. But Soledad didn’t stop there: she went on to work with the Center for Community Engagement, putting her business skills at the service of coffee farmers in Haiti’s poorest region through the St. Thomas University Café Cocano Fair/Direct Trade Coffee Partnership.
  • Minette Sternke, was born hard of hearing and throughout her childhood her hearing deteriorated. At the age of 14 she lost complete hearing, but it did not deter her from reaching her personal and professional goals. She received a bachelor of science in accounting from Truman State University and graduated from the graduate school of banking at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has worked at the FDIC as a bank examiner for 27 years. Minette is a devout Catholic who has served her local parish as Deaf Minister Coordinator since 1999. And in 2015 she became a consecrated virgin. On Saturday, she’s receiving a master in pastoral ministries.
Graduation celebrations kick off with STU’s Baccalaureate Mass Friday, May 13, at 7 p.m., in the Chapel of Saint Anthony. For those that cannot attend commencement on May 14, the ceremonies will be streamed live here.

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