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Hastings' top cop and St. Kate’s alum to speak at Commencement

Hastings Police Chief Paul Schnell
Hastings Police Chief Paul Schnell

St. Catherine University’s spring 2011 graduation ceremonies are scheduled for May 21–22. The weekend will feature a Commencement address by Paul Schnell, Hastings police chief and 2002 graduate of the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership program at St. Kate’s.

Sister Carol Keehan, DC, president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association of the United States, will deliver the baccalaureate commencement address Sunday.

Schnell, chief of police for Hastings, Minn., will speak at the Saturday, May 21, Commencement for new alums of St. Kate’s associate and graduate programs.

Before becoming Hastings’ police chief last year, Schnell was a deputy sheriff with Carver County and spent more than a decade with the St. Paul Police Department — where he held the rank of sergeant and served in many roles, including patrol officer, investigator with the family and sexual violence unit, patrol supervisor and public information officer

In 2002, the St. Paul Police Department named him “Police Officer of the Year.”

Schnell has been actively seeking out ways to use restorative practices — such as mediation and group conferences — in criminal justice work for the past eight years.

He has coordinated more than 600 of these processes for a variety of disciplinary violations and criminal matters. He also has led training in the use of restorative practices in the United Kingdom and Canada.

Schnell earned his undergraduate degree in social work from the University of St. Thomas. He is a licensed social worker with experience in mental health, corrections and probation.

Medal of Honor
On May 21, St. Kate’s will present Schnell with a Medal of Honor for his innovative approach to education and community leadership.

Previous medal recipients include The Most Reverend Harry J. Flynn, archbishop emeritus of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis; Sharon Sayles-Belton, former Minneapolis mayor; and Karen Dolan Rauenhorst, community leader and vice chair of St. Kate's Board of Trustees.

The spring 2011 graduation ceremonies will be held in The O’Shaughnessy. The Associate and Graduate Commencement on May 21 begins at 11 a.m. The Baccalaureate Commencement starts at 2 p.m. after Mass and a Hooding Ceremony at Our Lady of Victory Chapel.

May 6, 2011 by Pauline Oo

See also: Alumnae/i, Leadership, Social Justice, Students