The Catholic University of America

April 14, 2011

U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner to Address 2011 Graduates at Commencement

  John A. Boehner

John A. Boehner, the 61st Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, will address the Class of 2011 at the 122nd Annual Commencement Ceremony of The Catholic University of America at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 14.

Catholic University’s Commencement will be held outdoors on the east steps of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, located at 400 Michigan Ave., N.E.

CUA will award Boehner an honorary Doctor of Laws at Commencement.

Other honorary degree recipients include Carmen María Cervantes, Ed.D., executive director of the Instituto Fe y Vida, Doctor of Theology; Kevin J. “Seamus” Hasson, M.A., J.D., founder of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Doctor of Humane Letters; and Dr. Carol Lally Shields, M.D., associate director, Ocular Oncology Service, Wills Eye Hospital, and professor of ophthalmology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Doctor of Science.

Boehner was elected Speaker of the House by his peers on Nov. 17, 2010, his 61st birthday. Earlier that month, the voters of the Eighth Congressional District of Ohio picked him to represent them for an 11th term.

The second oldest of 12 brothers and sisters, Speaker Boehner grew up in southwest Ohio, mopping floors and waiting tables at his family tavern. A product of Catholic education from kindergarten through college, he played football for legendary coach Gerry Faust at Cincinnati’s Moeller High School.

After graduating in 1968, he worked several jobs to pay his way through night school at Xavier University. He met his wife, Debbie, while working as a janitor, and in 1977 he earned his bachelor’s degree in business. A strong supporter of Catholic education in the District of Columbia, particularly the inner-city Consortium of Catholic Academies, he co-chairs an annual dinner to benefit the organization.

Boehner’s experience running a small business — meeting a payroll and dealing with government red tape — helped to shape his drive as a reformer in the public sector. Elected to Congress in 1990, he was instrumental in crafting the Contract with America with its cornerstone Congressional Accountability Act, which required Congress to live under the same rules as the rest of the nation.

As chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce from 2001 to 2006, he co-wrote the bill establishing the first private school choice program in the District, and worked with other reformers to ensure parental choice provisions were included in the bipartisan No Child Left Behind Act to reinforce its goal of bringing greater accountability to taxpayer-funded education programs.

In 2006, Boehner’s Pension Protection Act — a sweeping reform of America’s pension laws — was enacted, helping to ensure workers of their benefits when they retire.

> 2011 Commencement events, schedules, and information

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 or


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