The Catholic University of America

March 31, 2015

Author Mary Higgins Clark to Address 2015 Graduates

  Mary Higgins Clark. Photo by Bernard Vidal.

Mary Higgins Clark, best-selling author and suspense novelist, will address the Class of 2015 at the 126th Annual Commencement Ceremony of The Catholic University of America on May 16. 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.

Known as "The Queen of Suspense," Higgins Clark has written 42 books, most of which have become bestsellers in the United States and Europe. Her novels feature strong, independent young women who find themselves in the midst of problems they must solve with their own courage and intelligence.

Higgins Clark began her writing career when her husband died suddenly, leaving her with five school-age children. Since then she has been honored numerous times for her writing. Among other accolades, she received the Horatio Alger Award in 1997 and the Passionists' Ethics in Literature Award in 2002. She has been awarded 18 honorary doctorates, including one from her alma mater, Fordham University.

Her devotion to her Catholic faith has also been widely recognized. In the highest honor that can be offered to a layperson by the pope, Higgins Clark was made a Dame of the Order of St. Gregory the Great.

“I am very pleased that we will be welcoming Mary Higgins Clark as our Commencement speaker this year,” said University President John Garvey. “She is a prolific author whose suspense novels have entertained and educated millions of readers over four decades. Her personal story of faith, perseverance, and creativity in the face of great challenge is a fitting one for our graduates to ponder as they set out to pursue their vocations and make their fortunes in the world.”

Michael J. Bidwill, who earned his CUA law degree in 1990, will deliver the Commencement address for the Columbus School of Law on Friday, May 22, at the Basilica. Bidwill is president of the Arizona Cardinals football team, a former assistant U.S. attorney, and a member of the law school’s Board of Visitors.

Bidwill led the effort that resulted in the creation of a new stadium for the Arizona Cardinals. He also helped to bring both the Super Bowl and the Pro Bowl to the University of Phoenix Stadium during this past season. He received the 2014 Transformational Leader Award from the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

"We are delighted that Michael Bidwill will deliver the law school’s 2015 Commencement address,” said Daniel F. Attridge, dean and Knights of Columbus Professor of Law. "As a distinguished former federal prosecutor, highly regarded civic and business leader, and very successful professional sports executive, Michael Bidwill represents the very best of CUA Law."

Higgins Clark and Bidwill will each receive a Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the University. Honorary degrees will also be conferred at the main Commencement exercises on author-scholar Michael Novak as well as Francisco José Gómez de Argüello y Wirtz and Maria Carmen Hernández Barrera, co-initiators of the Neocatechumenal Way, a Catholic movement.

MEDIA: For more information or to make arrangements to cover the University’s main Commencement exercises, contact Katie Lee or Mary McCarthy Hines in the Office of Public Affairs at 202-319-5600 or



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