The Catholic University of America

May 4, 2009

CUA to Confer Approximately 1,600 Diplomas at Commencement Ceremonies

NYPD Commissioner to Deliver Commencement Address
Political Columnist to Speak at Law School Ceremony

Raymond W. Kelly

WASHINGTON - The Catholic University of America will confer approximately 1,375 bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees during its 120th Annual Commencement Ceremony to be held outdoors at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 16, on the east steps of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, located at 400 Michigan Ave., N.E.

In addition, approximately 250 degrees will be distributed at the commencement ceremony for CUA's Columbus School of Law at 2 p.m. on Friday, May 22.

For other commencement details, visit: A plan for inclement weather can be found here. Audio and video of the main ceremony will be streamed live over the Internet starting at 9:30 a.m. The live stream can be accessed here.

Raymond W. Kelly, police commissioner of New York City, will address graduates at the main commencement ceremony. Kelly, who served as New York City police commissioner from 1992 to 1994, was again appointed commissioner by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in 2002, making him the first person to hold the post for a second, non-consecutive term of office. Kelly has spent 31 years in the New York City Police Department, serving in 25 different commands.

Since his return to the helm of the New York Police Department, Kelly has created one of the largest municipal antiterrorism programs in the country, with more than 1,000 NYPD officers assigned to terrorism duties in the U.S. and overseas.

"I look forward to welcoming Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly as our main commencement speaker," said Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M., president of The Catholic University of America. "To say that he has had a distinguished record as a public servant is a great understatement. Strengthened by a deep, personal commitment to his Catholic faith, the Commissioner has a great life story to share with our graduating students. Commissioner Kelly's message, without a doubt, will engage his audience, as I have witnessed time and again," noted Father O'Connell.

Before returning for his second term as police commissioner, Kelly was senior managing director of Global Corporate Security, at Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc., from 2000 to 2001. He served as commissioner of the U.S. Customs Service from 1998 to 2000, where he managed the agency's 20,000 employees and $20 billion in annual revenue.

From 1996 to 1998, Kelly was undersecretary for enforcement at the U.S. Treasury Department. There he supervised the department's enforcement bureaus, including the U.S. Customs Service, the U.S. Secret Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

In addition, Kelly served on the executive committee and as vice president for the Americas of Interpol, the international police organization, from 1996 to 2000. During that time he served as director of the International Police Monitors in Haiti, a U.S.-led force responsible for ending human rights abuses and establishing an interim police force there.

Catholic University's Columbus School of Law will hold its commencement six days later on Friday, May 22, in the Great Upper Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. This year's law school commencement speaker will be political columnist Mark Shields.

One of the most widely-recognized commentators on social, legal and policy issues in the United States, Shields is best known for his work on CNN's "Capital Gang," and for his weekly appearances on the award-winning "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer."

"We are very pleased that Mark Shields has agreed to deliver this year's commencement remarks," said law school Dean Veryl V. Miles. "As a professional political commentator, he never lacks an opinion, nor does he ever lack humor, compassion and civility in sharing his views with others. His consistently high level of discourse sets a sterling example for how to conduct public dialogue. These are values that all legal professionals should strive for."

In 1979, Shields joined the editorial staff of The Washington Post and a year later started writing his column, which is now syndicated weekly by Creators Syndicate.

During the May 16 commencement ceremony, Commissioner Kelly will receive an honorary degree, as will Professor Karol Musiol, rector of the Jagiellonian University in Cracow, Poland, an institution with which CUA's Columbus School of Law has had an academic partnership for nearly two decades. Also at the May 16 ceremony, Ronan Tynan, one of the three original Irish Tenors, will receive the James Cardinal Gibbons Medal, the CUA Alumni Association's highest honor. Mr. Shields will receive an honorary degree at the May 22 commencement.

Outstanding students will be lauded during the Honors Convocation on Friday, May 15, at the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center. Father O'Connell will be the official celebrant and homilist during the Baccalaureate Mass in the Basilica, Great Upper Church, on May 15. In a separate ceremony 56 students will be inducted into the honor society Phi Beta Kappa that day.

MEDIA: For more information or to make arrangements to cover the university's main commencement exercises, contact Katie Lee or Mary McCarthy in the Office of Public Affairs at 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.