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Catholic Theological Union to Honor Three Outstanding Individuals at 43rd Commencement Ceremony

May 10, 2011

Chicago, IL, May 9, 2011 –Catholic Theological Union will honor Mr. Harold Gershowitz, Sr. Mary Collins, O.S.B., and Rev. Thomas Coughlin, O.P. Miss., at its 43rd Commencement Ceremony on Thursday, May 12, 2011, at 7:30 p.m.  The ceremony is held each year at K.A.M. Isaiah Israel Congregation in Chicago.  Nearly one hundred graduates representing twenty-two countries will receive certificates or Master level degrees in the areas of Biblical Ministry, Pastoral Studies, Theology, Divinity, and nine students will receive Doctor of Ministry degrees.

Honorary Degrees are conferred annually by the faculty and Board of Trustees upon individuals who have made great contributions to the fields of scholarship and service to which Catholic Theological Union is committed.   Mr. Harold Gershowitz will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.  A businessman, writer, and public servant, Mr. Gershowitz maintains a deep commitment to his Jewish heritage and has worked for many years to educate people about the legacy of the Holocaust, helping to build the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and serving on its Governing Council and Executive Committee under two presidential administrations.  Mr. Gershowitz has also been a leading proponent of Catholic-Jewish dialogue in Chicago, serving on the National Advisory Board of the Bernardin Center at Catholic Theological Union and spearheading the campaign to endow the Directorship of the Catholic-Jewish Studies program.

Sr. Mary Collins, O.S.B., will receive an honorary Doctor of Theology.  Sr. Collins, who holds a Ph.D. in Sacramental Theology from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where she is also professor emeriti, is considered one of North America’s premier liturgical theologians.  Her work focuses on intersections between the ecclesial and liturgical and their joint expression of Jesus’ Gospel of Salvation. 

Rev. Thomas Coughlin, O.P. Miss, will receive an honorary Doctor of Ministry.  The first born-Deaf man ordained to the priesthood in North America, Fr. Coughlin holds a Masters of Arts in Religious Studies from The Catholic University of America.  He has worked tirelessly to expand the Church’s resources for Deaf Catholics and deaf men with priestly vocations, and, in 1978, worked with other members of the Deaf community to found the Mark Seven Deaf Foundation, Inc., which provides pastoral services to deaf youth and adults.

Catholic Theological Union is the largest Roman Catholic graduate school of theology and ministry in the United States. Through its degree programs and other educational and formational opportunities, Catholic Theological Union strives to educate effective leaders for the Church whose mission is to witness Christ’s good news of justice, love, and peace to people of all nations.