• University of St. Thomas to honor three at Dec. 18 commencement ceremonies at St. Paul RiverCentre

    The University of St. Thomas will confer two honorary doctorates and honor a longtime trustee and benefactor at fall commencement ceremonies on Friday, Dec. 18, at the St. Paul RiverCentre, 175 W. Kellogg Blvd.

    The commencement celebration moves off campus this semester during construction on the university’s new Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex.

    The university will award 245 bachelor’s degrees at the undergraduate commencement exercises and 498 graduate degrees (master’s, doctoral and education specialist) at the graduate ceremonies. A Commencement Mass for graduates and their families will precede commencement ceremonies; the Mass begins at 1 p.m. in the Cathedral of St. Paul, 239 Selby Ave.

    Sister Andrea Lee, I.H.M.

    Sister Andrea Lee, I.H.M.

    At undergraduate ceremonies:

    Sister Andrea Lee, I.H.M., president of St. Catherine University in St. Paul, will give the commencement address and receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at the undergraduate ceremonies, which begin at 3 p.m.

    Lee, president of St. Catherine since 1998, guided the university through its successful $85 million Leadership in Mind capital campaign, which made possible a new student center, several new programs and the establishment of its Henrietta Schmoll School of Health.

    At graduate ceremonies:

    Sister Sally Furay, R.S.C.J.

    Sister Sally Furay, R.S.C.J.

    Sister Sally Furay, R.S.C.J., who for 25 years was academic vice president and provost of the University of San Diego, will give the commencement address and receive an honorary Doctor of Laws at graduate commencement ceremonies, which begin at 7 p.m.

    Furay is credited for her work to facilitate the 1972 merger of the San Diego College for Women with the University of San Diego College for Men and School of Law into the collective University of San Diego. A former member of the St. Thomas Board of Trustees (1989-99), she now serves on the Board of Governors of the St. Thomas School of Law.

    Gerald Rauenhorst

    Gerald Rauenhorst

    The university also will present its St. Thomas Aquinas Medallion – which recognizes community leaders who embody ideals of the university’s patron saint – to Gerald Rauenhorst, retired chairman of Opus Corp., the 56-year-old design-build construction company he founded.

    Rauenhorst, a 1948 St. Thomas graduate who has served on the university’s Board of Trustees since 1966, has played a key role over the last four decades in St. Thomas’ evolution into a comprehensive university. His philanthropy and leadership led to St. Thomas’ establishment of a Minneapolis campus, growth of its graduate business programs, establishment of endowed chairs and scholarships, and 20 major building projects at St. Thomas for Opus. Two more are in the works — the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex, due to open in August, and the Anderson Student Center, on which construction is set to begin in the spring.

    For more information, visit St. Thomas’ commencement Web site, www.stthomas.edu/commencement.