The Catholic University of America

April 25, 2006

Catholic University to Confer More Than 1,100 Degrees at Commencements

CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer to Speak at Main Ceremony

WASHINGTON - The Catholic University of America will confer more than 900 bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees during its 117th Annual Commencement Ceremony to be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 13, on the east steps of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, located at 400 Michigan Ave., N.E.

More than 250 degrees will be distributed at the commencement ceremony for CUA's Columbus School of Law on Saturday, May 27.

For other commencement details, visit: A plan for inclement weather can be found here. The main ceremony will be streamed live over the Internet starting at 9 a.m. The live stream can be viewed indoors on campus in the food court of the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center.

Wolf Blitzer

Wolf Blitzer, anchor of CNN's "The Situation Room" and one of the most recognizable faces in broadcast journalism, will deliver the main commencement address on May 13. In addition to "The Situation Room," an afternoon news program, the veteran newsman also hosts "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer," the only Sunday talk show seen in more than 200 countries and territories.

"Catholic University is very fortunate to have CNN's Wolf Blitzer as its commencement speaker this year," said Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M., president of Catholic University. "He earned his reputation as a national and international journalist by placing himself in some of the most important and potentially life-threatening situations and before some of the most important newsmakers of our time. A master of the art of objective news analysis, Mr. Blitzer's reporting is among the best in the business today. I am so grateful to him that he will share his experience of the world with our graduates, their families and guests and our faculty."

For more than two decades, Blitzer has reported on a wide range of major breaking stories around the world. He began his career in 1972 with the Reuters News Agency in Tel Aviv. Shortly thereafter, he became a Washington, D.C., correspondent for The Jerusalem Post. After more than 15 years of reporting from the nation's capital, Blitzer joined CNN in 1990 as the network's military affairs correspondent at the Pentagon.

From 1992 to the present he has covered many key events that have shaped the landscape of international politics. He also has interviewed some of recent history's most prominent newsmakers, including national leaders past and present, in the United States and abroad. To view Blitzer's bio, visit

Blitzer is the author of two books, "Between Washington and Jerusalem: A Reporter's Notebook" (Oxford University Press, 1985) and "Territory of Lies" (Harper and Row, 1989). The latter was cited by The New York Times Book Review as one of the most notable books of 1989. He also has written articles for numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times.

Blitzer will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters at the commencement ceremony. Father O'Connell also will award honorary degrees to Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, archbishop of Washington and CUA chancellor, and noted Catholic historian Rev. Cyprian Davis, O.S.B., who has written extensively on the history and spirituality of African-American Catholics in the United States. The Thomas J. Shahan Award for Service will be given to Frederick R. Favo, a Board of Trustees member who earned a CUA bachelor's degree in architectural engineering in 1955.

Rep. Rick Renzi

Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz), a 2001 law school alumnus, will be the speaker at the Columbus School of Law commencement ceremony, which will be held at 2 p.m. on May 27 in the Great Upper Church of the National Shrine.

"Congressman Renzi has used his Catholic University education in the exercise of tremendous responsibility as a public servant," Father O'Connell said. "I know our graduates will be both inspired and excited by his presence and his message. I am delighted and honored that he will be our commencement speaker at the law school graduation and, along with Dean Miles, the faculty and our graduating class, I look forward to welcoming him 'home'."

Renzi was a successful entrepreneur from Flagstaff, Ariz., before entering the world of politics. He was first elected to Congress in 2002 and currently is serving his second term after being re-elected in 2004. He currently is a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He also is a member of the House Resources Committee and the House Financial Services Committee.

Father O'Connell will present the President's Medal to Renzi and to the Hon. H. F. "Sparky" Gierke, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces and an adjunct professor at CUA's law school for about 20 years. Gierke is retiring from CUA this spring as well as stepping down from the bench.

Outstanding students will be lauded during the Honors Convocation at 2 p.m. on Friday, May 12, at Hartke Theatre. Father O'Connell will be the official celebrant and homilist during the Baccalaureate Mass in the National Shrine, Great Upper Church, at 4 p.m. on May 12.

Media Coverage
For more information or to make arrangements to cover the university's main commencement, Honors Convocation or Baccalaureate Mass, contact Chris Harrison or Katie Lee in the CUA Office of Public Affairs by calling 202-319-5600; to cover the law school commencement, contact Tom Haederle in the law school's Office of Public Affairs at 202-319-5438.

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Media contact(s):
· Chris Harrison, CUA Office of Public Affairs, 202-319-5600,
· Katie Lee, CUA Office of Public Affairs, 202-319-5600,