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The 43rd Annual Commencement Ceremony

August 2011

“Graduation is always a time of mixed emotions; there is joy at the completion of an arduous academic journey, but there is also sadness when vital members of this community of faith and learning take their leave to continue their ministries in far-flung corners of the world.” With these words, Sr. Barbara E. Reid, O.P., Vice President and Academic Dean, began the commencement exercises for the 2011 graduating class of Catholic Theological Union.

The nearly 100 graduates gathered at K.A.M. Isaiah Israel Congregation on May 12, 2011 along with family members, friends, classmates, professors, and other well wishers to honor their great accomplishments. As Sr. Barbara pointed out, “Some of our graduates have been here just a short time, privileged to be engaged in full-time study; others have been on what seems like the lifelong learning plan, chipping away one course at a time, while balancing full-time jobs and family commitments… Each individual journey has coalesced in this community of faith and learning, as together you have honed your theological knowledge and your pastoral skills, deepening your relationship with the One who has called you to this life of service.”

The faculty and Board of Trustees also honored three distinguished guests for their service to the Church and to the world in which we live.

Sister Mary Collins, O.S.B., Professor Emerita in the School of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., received the Doctor of Theology, honoris causa, for her work in the liturgical renewal in the United States since Vatican II and for being one of North America’s premier liturgical theologians.

Rev. Thomas Coughlin, O.P. Miss., Director of the Deaf Apostolate of the San Antonio Archdiocese, an on-call RN at the Texas School for the Deaf in Austin, Texas, and founder and Prior General of the Dominican Missionaries for the Deaf Apostolate Congregation, received the Doctor of Ministry, honoris causa. Not only was Father Coughlin a pioneer in his own ordination to the priesthood in 1977 as the first born-deaf priest in North America, but he has also lived his life committed to insuring access to theological education and spiritual formation for the Deaf, and particularly for men with priestly vocations.

Mr. Harold Gershowitz, Chairman of New Century Information Services, received the Doctor in Humane Letters, honoris causa. A strong believer in the vital importance of Holocaust education and remembrance, Mr. Gershowitz served on the Governing Council and Executive Committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum where through his leadership and tireless work this great educational institution was built and sustained. Mr. Gershowitz was honored for his long-standing commitment to both local and national community service as well as his work in the Catholic-Jewish dialogue in Chicago.

To learn more about the honoree’s message to the graduates, visit CTU’s newest website,