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Saint Mary’s announces commencement speaker, honorary degree recipients

| Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Saint Mary′s confirmed the commencement ceremony for the class of 2021 will take place May 22 at noon associate director of public relations Lisa Knox said in an email to students Tuesday.

The message noted President Katie Conboy expects the event will take place in person as long as COVID-19 trends continue to improve.

“We see glimmers of hope in the trajectory of the pandemic on our campus,” Conboy said. “As long as signs point to continued improvement, we feel more comfortable relaxing some of the restrictions we’ve had in place. If our community continues to maintain this bubble we have created, our seniors will be able to reap the benefits of that hard work by having an in-person ceremony.”

The email also announced the commencement speaker for the class of 2021 will be former interim president Nancy Nekvasil. Conboy expressed her gratitude for Nekvasil’s 30 years of experience as a faculty member in Saint Mary’s biology department.

“Dr. Nekvasil is a beloved faculty member, leader and friend to our students, faculty and staff,” Conboy said. “As a professor, she was instrumental in shaping the lives of countless young women, showing them how the sciences need Saint Mary’s minds.”

In addition, Conboy commended Nekvasil during her leadership as interim president during the pandemic.

“Then, as interim president, she took charge of the College with resounding aptitude,” she said. “Her leadership through the early days of the pandemic, when the world was caught off guard, was confident and compassionate. She made sure our students and their families were heard and cared for. I can’t think of a more meaningful person to address our seniors at commencement than Dr. N[ekvasil].”

Nekvasil will be one of three honorary degree recipients at the event, the email stated. Keith J. Egan and Sister Mary Louise Full ’65, C.S.C. will also receive honorary degrees. In addition, the President’s medal will be awarded posthumously to William Cushwa.

More information about the award recipients can be found on the College’s website.

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