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Author Borchard to address SMC graduates

Caitlin Housley | Wednesday, May 18, 2011

When asked to address the Class of 2011 at Saint Mary’s Commencement ceremony this year, Therese Johnson Borchard said the opportunity would mean more to her than winning a Pulitzer Prize.

“I think being chosen as the Saint Mary’s Commencement speaker is the highest honor I can think of,” Borchard said in a College press release. “Much of who I am today was formed in my four years at Saint Mary’s. The school is really part of my soul because it was there that I found the courage to be me.”

Borchard graduated from Saint Mary’s in 1993 with a degree in religious studies and she is now an active contributor to the field of psychology. She serves as the associate editor of Psych Central and the author of an award-winning blog called “World of Psychology.”

Catherine Pittman, associate professor of clinical psychology, said she is excited to hear from a speaker with experience in a field relevant to many graduates’ future careers.

“I am glad to have a speaker who is focused on assisting people as they struggle with issues of depression and other challenges,” Pittman said. “I know that students in the Psychology Department are especially interested in hearing from her because many of them share a commitment to trying to assist others as they cope with life’s challenges.”

As an alumna, Borchard is a role model for students preparing for life after Saint Mary’s, Pittman said.

“[Borchard’s] shared background as a Saint Mary’s woman gives our students confidence that, like her, they can go out to make a difference in the world,” she said. “I know that seniors feel a sense of mastery based on their experiences at [the College,] but they wonder if what they have learned will translate into meaningful opportunities and accomplishments in the real world.”

In addition to her work at Psych Central, Borchard also contributes to the daily blog “Beyond Blue,” a site dedicated to those suffering from depression, according to the press release. She also authored and edited a number of psychology publications related to depression and is a columnist for the Catholic News Service.

Borchard hopes to incorporate the knowledge she has gained from working in her field into her commencement address Saturday, the press release stated. Borchard said she will discuss how students can live an authentic life, even if it means facing rejection to share their talents and gifts with the world.

Pittman said Borchard’s address should inspire the Class of 2011 as the women leave the College.

“I think [Borchard] will help them feel more confident and empowered as a result of what she has achieved in her work.”