Author, commentator and sportswriter Frank Deford will address graduates and Twin Cities businessman Guy Schoenecker will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at University of St. Thomas commencement exercises on Saturday, May 20.
St. Thomas has two commencement ceremonies: ceremonies for 575 recipients of graduate degrees will begin at 9 a.m. in Schoenecker Arena, and about 800 recipients of bachelor’s degrees will be honored in ceremonies scheduled at 2:30 p.m. in O’Shaughnessy Stadium (or, in case of rain, Schoenecker Arena).
Deford will be the featured speaker at both ceremonies. Among the most honored and versatile writers in the country, DeFord has credits in virtually every medium. In magazines, he has returned to Sports Illustrated, where his byline originally appeared from 1962 through 1989. On television, he is a correspondent on the HBO show, “RealSports With Bryant Gumbel,” and on radio he may be heard on National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition.”
Deford also is the author of 11 books, including his most-recent, historical novel, Love and Infamy. Two of his books — the novel, Everybody’s All-American and Alex: The Life of a Child, a memoir about his young daughter who died of cystic fibrosis — have been made into movies. He also wrote the original screenplay for the comedy “Trading Hearts.”
He is a member of the Hall of Fame of the National Association of Sportscasters and Sportswriters. Six times he was voted by his peers as U.S. Sportswriter of the Year. The American Journalism Review has called him the nation’s finest sportswriter, and twice he was voted Magazine Writer of the Year by the Washington Journalism Review. He also has won Emmy (for his work with NBC at the Seoul Olympics) and Cable Ace awards, a Christopher Award and journalism service awards from the University of Missouri and Northeastern University.
For 15 years Deford was the national chairman of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and now he is chairman emeritus. A Baltimore native, he is a graduate of Princeton University. He and his family live in Westport, Conn.
Schoenecker will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the undergraduate ceremonies Saturday afternoon. He is president and chief quality officer of BI, an Edina-based management consulting firm that designs and implements customized incentive programs. The company, which received a Minnesota Quality Award in 1994 and won a prestigious Malcolm Baldrige quality award in 1999, employs some 1,400 associates in 25 offices nationwide.
Schoenecker, a member of the Minnesota Business Hall of Fame, started his business as a St. Thomas student; he earned his B.A. degree in sociology there in 1949. He received the university’s John F. Cade Award for entrepreneurship in 1991 and its Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1993. A member of the St. Thomas board of trustees since 1978, he has served on its Executive Committee for 16 years. Five of his seven children are St. Thomas alumni.
Schoenecker’s generosity has resulted in several hundred scholarships to St. Thomas students over the past 25 years, with 51 students receiving Schoenecker Foundation scholarships in this school year alone. UST’s Schoenecker Arena, dedicated in 1982 and named to honor Schoenecker’s parents, is another example of his generosity. He also served for many years on the advisory board of the Catholic Digest, which is based at St. Thomas.
Schoenecker and his wife, Barbara, live in Eden Prairie.