STEUBENVILLE - Franciscan University of Steubenville will celebrate its 64th-annual commencement exercises, May 11-12.
With more than 700 expected graduates, the ceremonies will be one of the largest in the university's history and will include the first graduates from the online master of science in education program.
Three speakers noted for their Catholic faith and public service will address the graduates including Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, N.J.; retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency; and Dr. Marie Hilliard, director of bioethics and public policy for the National Catholic Bioethics Center.
"This year's commencement speakers have distinguished themselves by defending our shores, protecting the sacredness of human life and shaping our form of worship as Catholics. These outstanding leaders will send forth the Class of 2012 with the faith, hope and courage so needed in our world today," said the Rev. Terence Henry, TOR, university president.
Events begin at 6 p.m. on May 11 with the baccalaureate Mass in Finnegan Fieldhouse.
The celebrant and homilist, Serratelli will receive an honorary doctorate of Christian letters for his contribution to the Church in the translation of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal into English.
The new translation of the Mass, in use in English-speaking countries since Nov. 27, is one of the most significant changes in the liturgy since the liturgical reforms immediately following the Second Vatican Council.
Serratelli has been influential throughout the process of preparing and developing the new translation. He was ordained a bishop in 2000 and installed as Paterson's seventh bishop in 2004.
Commencement ceremonies begin at 9 a.m. on May 12 with the conferral of master's degrees in Christ the King Chapel.
Hilliard will address graduates of master's programs in business, counseling, education, educational administration, nursing, philosophy and theology.
She will receive an honorary doctorate in Christian ethics for her extensive contributions in the area of Catholic bioethics.
Hilliard is on the front lines in the major bioethical controversies of the day, speaking out for the unborn, the elderly, the sick and the vulnerable wherever they are threatened, according to officials.
She has an extensive professional background in medical ethics and public policy and advocacy as the former director of the Connecticut Catholic Conference, the public policy and advocacy arm of the Catholic Bishops of Connecticut.
Hilliard is a canon lawyer and serves as a resource for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on the implementation of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Healthcare Services and on Church-State relations.
The largest ceremony of the day will take place at 11:30 a.m. in Finnegan Fieldhouse, where students will receive bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, or associate degrees from among 40 programs.
Addressing the Class of 2012 will be Hayden, the former director of the CIA.
Hayden will receive an honorary doctorate in public administration for his years of service to the United States.
Hayden's service to the United States includes nearly 40 years in the U.S Air Force.
After being appointed by President Bill Clinton, Hayden served as the director of the National Security Agency and chief of the Central Security Service from 1999 to 2005. He became director of the CIA in May of 2006 and served until 2009.
Henry will confer the degrees, and the Rev. Nicholas Polichnowski, TOR, chairman of the board of trustees, will preside at both commencement ceremonies along with members of the board of trustees and board of advisers.
The top five states represented by the 2012 graduating class are Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, California, and Illinois.
Graduates also hail from Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru and the Philippines.
The top 10 majors for the Class of 2012 are theology, business, catechetics, education, philosophy, nursing, biology, history, mental health and human services and English.