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St. Kate’s presents honorary doctorate to Father Dease

Father Dennis Dease at St. Kate's during the 50th Anniversary of the Ordination of Rev. Harry J. Flynn.
Father Dennis Dease at St. Kate's during the 50th Anniversary of the Ordination of Rev. Harry J. Flynn.
Photo by Rebecca Zenefski '10.

St. Catherine University will award an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters to Dennis Dease, president of the University of St. Thomas, at the Commencement ceremony on December 20, 2012, at 7 p.m. in the O’Shaughnessy Auditorium.

Winter commencement ceremonies celebrate St. Kate’s students earning doctorate, master’s, baccalaureate and associate degrees as well as second majors and certificates. Prior to the ceremony, Dease will preside at the baccalaureate liturgy (5 p.m.) in Our Lady of Victory Chapel.

Dease began his presidency on July 1, 1991, and will retire on June 30, 2013. He is St. Thomas’ second-longest-tenured president and the longest-serving private university president in Minnesota. He was a longtime faculty member in the theology department and a member of the Board of Trustees before assuming this role.

Dease’s accomplishments include establishing several new degree programs, a Center for Catholic Studies, a law school and a campus in Rome. He has overseen the expansion of the Murray Institute, through which 700 teachers and principals in archdiocesan schools have received tuition-free graduate degrees. He has also led two capital campaigns that have raised more than $700 million for St. Thomas.

In 2008, Dease received the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award for his lifelong work as a Catholic educator. He has served in leadership roles on numerous boards, including the International Federation of Catholic Universities, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, and the National Catholic Educational Association.

Dease earned a B.A. in Latin and philosophy from the Saint Paul Seminary in 1965, an M.A. in counseling psychology from the University of St. Thomas in 1972, an M.Div. from the Saint Paul Seminary in 1973, and a Ph.D. degree in systematic theology from The Catholic University of America in 1978. He was ordained in 1969.

Honorary degrees

St. Kate’s has awarded honorary degrees since 1922 to individuals in recognition of their significant contributions to the University and the community. A recipient’s achievements demonstrate a consistency with St. Kate’s mission including a commitment to spiritual values, a belief in the potential of women and a respect for liberal arts education.

Candidates for honorary degrees are nominated by members of the University community and proposed by the president to the Board of Trustees. Past recipients include The Most Reverend Harry J. Flynn, archbishop emeritus of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis (2008); and Marilyn Carlson Nelson (1983), chairman and former CEO, Carlson.

Related story:
Winter 2012 Commencement Ceremony speaker: Gloria Perez

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Dec. 17, 2012 by Pauline Oo

See also: Catholic Identity, Education, Leadership