Four honorary degrees to be awarded at May Commencement

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Four honorary degrees to be awarded to religious, educational, philanthropy and business Leaders

Published: May 14, 2013.

Lewis University will award four honorary degrees at the Spring Commencement Ceremonies in May, recognizing the achievements of Jay D. Bergman, president of a nationwide energy company and member of the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE); Dr. Michael Vinciguerra, retiring this month after eleven years as the highly respected President of the University of St. Francis; Rosemary Croghan, a registered nurse who has become a dynamic leader and leading philanthropist in supporting education for the less fortunate; and Reverend J. Bryan Hehir, Secretary for Health and Social Services for the Archdiocese of Boston and the Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Religion and Public Life at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Mr. Bergman and Dr. Vinciguerra will be honored at the Commencement Ceremony for Graduate Students on Saturday, May 18. On Sunday, May 19, at the Ceremony for Undergraduates, honorary degrees will be presented to Mrs. Croghan and Father Hehir.

Live coverage of the Commencement Ceremonies is available online at

Now in its ninth decade, Lewis University will host the largest class ever at the May Commencement ceremonies with 636 undergrads and 317 graduate students. The Graduate Degree Ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday and be followed by the President’s Reception for Graduates and Guests, hosted by Brother James Gaffney, FSC, President. The Sunday schedule will begin with the Baccalaureate Mass at 9 a.m. in the Field House, con-celebrated by Most Rev. Raymond E. Goedert, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Chicago; Father Hehir, one of the honorary degree recipients, and Reverend Dan Torson, C.P.P.S., University Chaplain and professor of Theology. A Continental Breakfast for Graduates and Guests will be held after the liturgy. The Undergraduate Degree Ceremony will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Jay D. Bergman was one of the speakers at the Dedication of the addition to the College of Nursing and Health Professions at Lewis University in 2010. President of Petco Corporation, he is Chairman of the Board of American Heartland Bank and Trust Company and is noted for his dedicated support of education. Along with his service on the IBHE, he is a Trustee for Illinois State University.

Dr. Michael Vinciguerra is noted for his remarkable accomplishments at the University of St. Francis, particularly in developing a plan to enhance USF’s vital presence in its neighborhood, and strengthen the university’s Catholic Franciscan identity and heritage. He successfully led efforts to establish a Rialto City campus in Joliet and to expand and significantly renovate USF’s campus. During his tenure, he adopted a 15-year, $70 million campus master plan that has resulted in acquiring all campus properties from its founding Congregation of Franciscan Sisters and providing for major enhancements throughout the campus. Dr. Vinciguerra also has forged partnerships within educational, corporate and civic communities that have advanced Catholic higher education.

Rosemary Croghan is a member of the founding board of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, established in 1996 as a way to help low-income students get an affordable private college preparatory education. Now a member of the Board of Directors of the national Cristo Rey Network, she also is actively involved with the Big Shoulders program in the Archdiocese of Chicago where she is a Gallagher Scholar Mentor, counseling promising students who attend Big Shoulders schools. She and her husband, John Croghan received the prestigious Elizabeth Ann Seton Award in 2006 from the National Catholic Education Association for their exceptional generosity to the inner city schools of the Archdiocesan Big Shoulders Fund program. The couple has established the Cardinal’s Award, given annually for teacher achievement in a Big Shoulders Fund-supported school. A Chicagoan, Mrs. Crogan has contributed throughout her life to education through personal service, creative vision and highly generous support. She also is active as a Trustee for Loyola University and Loyola Academy.

Reverend J. Bryan Hehir is nationally known for his work in public service and social services. His extensive writings and scholarly research focus on ethics and foreign policy, as well as the role of religion in American society and world politics. Earlier in his career, he provided leadership as President of Catholic Charities USA, which at that time served as the national agency for local Catholic social services and spent approximately $2.8 billion annually to help the needy. In the 1980s, he was a MacArthur Foundation Fellow who focused on public policy. Along with his current positions with the Archdiocese of Boston and his faculty, he currently is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the American Philosophical Society, Council of Foreign Relations, the Arms Control Association, the Global Development Committee, and the Independent Sector. A priest who is a highly regarded academic and religious leader, Father Hehir is noted for providing ethical insight on sensitive political issues throughout his career.

Lewis University is a Catholic university in the Lasallian tradition offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 6,500 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates. The seventh largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.

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Sister Joanna Illg said:
Very special congratulations to Rosemary Croghan! She is truly a champion of education for all! Her commitment to provide learning opportunities for students from low income families, is indeed an inspiration. Thank you to Lewis University for recognizing her with an honorary degree.

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