1971 alumnus named bishop of Spokane, Wash. Patricia Sirek July 6, 2010 Bishop Blase Cupich '71Bishop Blase Cupich, a 1971 St. Thomas alumnus who since 1998 has been bishop of Rapid City, S.D., last week was named bishop of the Diocese of Spokane, Wash.Cupich joins a list of at least nine other men named bishops in recent years who have St. Thomas and St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity ties.Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis, a 1966 St. Paul Seminary alumnusBishop Peter Christensen of Superior, Wis., a 1981 St. Thomas alumnus and a 1985 St. Paul Seminary alumnusBishop Paul Etienne of Cheyenne, Wyo., a 1986 St. Thomas alumnus who also studied at St. John Vianney Seminary on the St. Thomas campusBishop Arthur Kennedy, a former St. Thomas faculty memberBishop John Kinney of St. Cloud, a 1963 St. Paul Seminary alumnusBishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, a 1965 St. Paul Seminary alumnusBishop Lee Piché of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, a 1980 St. Thomas and a 1984 St. Paul Seminary alumnus who is a member of the St. Thomas Board of TrusteesBishop Alexander Sample of Marquette, Mich., who studied philosophy at St. Thomas during the 1986-87 academic year, after he had earned bachelor of science and master of science degrees from Michigan Technological UniversityBishop Paul Sirba of Duluth, a 1982 St. Thomas alumnus and a 1986 St. Paul Seminary alumnus.An Omaha, Neb., native, Cupich, 61, earned a B.A. in philosophy from St. Thomas, then attended the North American College and Gregorian University in Rome. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Omaha in 1975. He later completed postgraduate studies at the Catholic University of America. He currently chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Protection of Children and Young People.More than 101,000 Catholics live in the Spokane diocese.