The Catholic University of America

April 25, 2008

Knights of Columbus CEO and Spouse to Speak at CUA Commencement

Knights of Columbus leader Carl A. Anderson, his wife Dorian and Father O'Connell.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Knights of Columbus leader Carl A. Anderson and his wife, Dorian, will address graduates at The Catholic University of America's 119th Annual Commencement Ceremony, to be held Saturday, May 17, 2008, at 10 a.m.

As supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, Carl Anderson is the chief executive officer and chairman of the board of the world's largest Catholic fraternal service organization, which has more than 1.7 million members. He and Dorian Anderson have for decades served the Catholic Church and have made charitable work around the world the focus of their lives.

"There is, in my mind, no more higher-profile married Catholic couple and parents than Carl and Dorian Anderson to share with us an inspiring message of encouragement. The parents of five children, two of them CUA alumni, the Andersons were appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to the Pontifical Council for the Family. Both have been unwavering in their promotion of Catholic marriage and family life," says Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M., president of The Catholic University of America.

Carl and Dorian Anderson will each receive the university's highest academic honor, the Doctor of Theology degree, honoris causa.

Since Carl Anderson assumed the position of supreme knight in 2000, the organization has achieved new heights in charitable giving, last year providing more than $143 million to charity and 68 million hours in voluntary service.

Under his administration the Knights established the $1 million Heroes Fund to provide immediate assistance to the families of rescue workers killed in the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001, and the $2 million Pacem in Terris Fund to assist the Catholic Church's efforts for peace in the Middle East.

Anderson has had a distinguished career as a public servant and educator. From 1983 to 1987, he served in various positions of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, including special assistant to the president and acting director of the White House Office of Public Liaison. Following his service at the White House, he served for nearly a decade as a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

He has worked closely with popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, serving as a consultor on several Vatican councils concerned with family, pro-life issues and peace and justice issues.

He also has strong ties to CUA, currently serving as a trustee of the university. In 1988, he became the founding vice president and first dean of the Washington, D.C., branch of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, which since 2001 has been located on the campus of Catholic University.

Anderson has been one of the executive officers of the Knights of Columbus since 1987. He holds a law degree from the University of Denver and is the author of the current New York Times best-seller A Civilization of Love: What Every Catholic Can Do to Transform the World, published by HarperOne.

"I have long admired Carl as a public servant and writer," says Father O'Connell. "I am so thankful to him and to all the Knights of Columbus for their heroic service to people around the world, and especially their generosity to the mission of the Church and to The Catholic University of America."

The main commencement ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. on the east steps of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The shrine is located adjacent to CUA's campus at 400 Michigan Ave., N.E.

Catholic University's Columbus School of Law will hold its annual commencement six days later on Friday, May 23, 2008, at 2 p.m. 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 U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

* * *

MEDIA: For more information or to make arrangements to cover the university's main commencement exercises, contact Katie Lee or Victor Nakas 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.