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Saint Mary’s announces 2019 commencement speaker

| Friday, May 17, 2019

Editor’s note: A version of this story appeared in the print edition of The Observer on Jan. 16. 

Saint Mary’s alumna Kelly Grier, from the class of ’91, will deliver the class of 2019 commencement address in May, the College announced in a press release Wednesday morning. Grier is the EY US financial services firm chairman and managing partner, and managing partner of EY Americas. She will also be receiving an Honorary Doctor of Humanities Degree at commencement Saturday, May 18.

Grier was elected last year to a four-year term, making her “the first woman to lead the giant accounting and professional services firm in the Americas,” according to the release. Grier has spent the last 28 years at EY and now leads more than 72,000 people in 31 countries, the release said.

“As a Saint Mary’s alumna, it’s an honor and a privilege to be chosen to deliver the commencement address to the class of 2019,” Grier said in the release. “I’m inspired and encouraged by these bright young women, who will no doubt have a significant impact on our future working world.”

Grier, who studied accounting during her time at Saint Mary’s, also has been a member of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the release said.

Grier was also recognized by the World Economic Forum as a “Young Global Leader” in the past, and was named to Fortune Magazine’s 2018 Most Powerful Women in Business list, according to release.

“Kelly Grier’s career accomplishments speak for themselves, and she has excelled as a leader,” Saint Mary’s Interim President Nancy Nekvasil said in the release. “The example of her life and work is a powerful message in itself, and we’re thrilled that the class of 2019 will have the opportunity to draw inspiration from Kelly as they embark on their careers. It is always such a privilege to invite alumnae back to campus, and having the opportunity to also celebrate an alumna who has made a difference with her life is a true joy.”

Saint Mary’s will also be awarding an honorary degree to Sister Maureen Grady, a senior lecturer with the department of nursing science. Grady has a nursing degree from Loyola University Chicago, and in 2015 was given its Spirit of Ignatius Award, recognizing her commitment to the school’s mission, “Care of the Person.” Grady also has a Doctor of Ministry degree from Christian Theological Seminary, the release said.

“Sister Maureen embodies compassion and courage,” Nekvasil said in the release. “Her ability to connect with people on a personal level while addressing complex issues, whether an individual’s health or a community’s scars of war, represents the highest ideals we strive for at Saint Mary’s. There are few people I know who have the gift of welcoming anyone and everyone into their sphere like Sister Maureen.”

According to the release, Grady also spent 20 years in war zones in the Middle East as chief operating officer for the Catholic Near East Welfare Association. In her role there, Grady worked with war victims and supported the restoration of various social services in Lebanon and Syria. For her efforts, Grady was granted Lebanese citizenship and given the National Order of the Cedar Officer badge. The Holy See also awarded her with the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal in recognition of her devotion to the Catholic Church.

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