The University of St. Thomas will present an honorary degree to Sister Karen Kennelly, C.S.J., president of Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles, at its winter commencement ceremonies for graduate students at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18, in Schoenecker Arena.

Kennelly will be honored for her many contributions to her religious order, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, and a career spanning more than 40 years as a historian, scholar and educator. Kennelly also will deliver the commencement address.

Kennelly is a former faculty member and academic dean of her alma mater, the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul. From 1979 to 1982, she was executive director of the National Federation of Carondelet Colleges. In 1982 she was elected director of the St. Paul Province of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. In 1989 she was named president of Mount St. Mary’s, an ethnically diverse college founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph primarily for women. Author of Catholic Women in America (Macmillan, 1989), Kennelly received the Distinguished Historian Award of the Conference on the History of Women Religious in 1995.

Three hundred seventy-five graduate students will receive degrees at the Saturday ceremonies.

Two hundred undergraduates will receive bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees at winter ceremonies to be held at 3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17, in Schoenecker Area.

Dr. Brenda Powell, professor of English and director of St. Thomas’ Luann Dummer Center for Women, will deliver the commencement address. Powell was honored as the university’s Professor of the Year on St. Thomas Day last March.