Walsh Welcomes Apostolic Nuncio to Celebrate 2017 Commencement


School News

Approximately 3,000 guests were on campus on Sunday, April 30, to welcome Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, as this year’s keynote speaker for the spring Commencement Ceremony in the Alumni Arena of the Gaetano M. Cecchini Family Health and Wellness Complex. The ceremony included Walsh University President Richard Jusseaume, the Bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown the Most Reverend George V. Murry, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Douglas Palmer, and members of the Walsh University community along with graduates and their family and friends.

During the formal ceremony,  424 graduates received their respective associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees. They join the 301 graduates from Walsh’s Winter Commencement Ceremony for a total of 725  graduates for the 2016-17 academic year. The Senior Class Address was presented by the 2017 Tower of Excellence Award Recipient, Alexis Howard. Commencement weekend activities also included Saturday’s Baccalaureate Mass celebrated by Rt. Rev. Sabino Ocan Odoki, Bishop of Arua, Uganda.

As one of the Vatican’s most distinguished and respected diplomats, the Papal Nuncio is the Pope’s representative in relations with the U.S. administration and with the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (U.S.C.C.B.). During the ceremony, Archbishop Pierre was awarded the Walsh Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters as a tribute to his dedication and accomplishments, including his support of the Brothers of Christian Instruction and their service in Haiti and Uganda.

Brother Charles Desjarlais, FIC, was also honored with the Walsh University Founders’ Award during the ceremony. The Founders' Award was established in 1985 and is awarded to those who have achieved national stature by illustrating in their lives the same ideals that inspired the Venerable John de La Mennais and Father Gabriel Deshayes in establishing the Brothers of Christian Instruction, Walsh’s founders. These ideals are faith in God, fidelity to the Catholic Church, active concern for Christian education, dedication to authentic social justice and courageous promotion of human welfare, especially among those less fortunate and disenfranchised. As a dedicated educator for more than 30 years in Canada, Japan and the Philippines, Brother Charles Desjarlais, FIC, has lived his Catholic faith in service to others around the world. 

Archbishop Christophe Pierre was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to the United States by Pope Francis on April 12, 2016. At the time of his assignment, Archbishop Pierre was nuncio to Mexico, a position he held with considerable distinction for nine years, since March 22, 2007. He came to Washington, D.C., as an experienced diplomat, with first-hand knowledge of the dramatic plight of migrants from Central America and Mexico to the United States. Archbishop Pierre is the first Frenchman to be appointed as Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.

Walsh University has a history of attracting high-profile Commencement speakers who reflect the University’s Catholic faith and reinforce its mission of service through their personal and professional endeavors. Past speakers have included prominent religious leaders, service organization directors, business executives, U.S. elected officials, authors, educators and community activists.