Walsh University Announces 2022 Commencement Speaker

Walsh University is pleased to announce The Most Reverend Bishop David J. Bonnar, the sixth Bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown, will deliver the 2022 Commencement Address during graduation exercises.  Walsh will celebrate and confer diplomas to 648 graduates on Saturday, May 7, at 9:15 a.m. for the DeVille School of Business and the School of Behavioral & Health Sciences and at 1:45 p.m. for Byers School of Nursing, the Division of Education and the School of Arts and Sciences, at the Cecchini Health and Wellness Complex, Alumni Arena. Bishop Bonnar will also concelebrate Baccalaureate Mass at noon.

During the commencement ceremonies, Walsh University will present an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters to Bishop Bonnar for his extraordinary achievements, generous service to others and for his interest in higher education and a supportive association with the University.

“Our Bishop’s presence will be especially meaningful as we celebrate the resilience and compassion of our newest graduates who are now ready for the next stage in their careers, in life, and in pursuit of their life’s purpose,” said President Tim Collins.

The Most Reverend David J. Bonnar received a bachelor degree in Social Communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, his birthplace, and studied at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy, receiving a Bachelor in Sacred Theology (STB) in 1987 from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Pittsburgh on July 23, 1988.

After ordination, Bishop Bonnar served as parochial vicar at Saint Vitus Parish, New Castle, PA; Saint Rosalia Parish, Greenfield, PA; and Saint Thomas More Parish, Bethel Park, PA. While at Saint Rosalia Parish, he also served as chaplain at Central Catholic High School. In 1997, he was named Director of Vocations, Director of the Pre-Ordination program, Director of the Permanent Diaconate program and Rector of Saint Paul Seminary in Pittsburgh where he served until 2002. From 2002 to 2007, he served as pastor of Saint Bartholomew Parish in Penn Hills. In 2007, Bishop Bonnar was named Secretary for Parish Life and Leadership. During this time, he also served as Delegate for Clergy (2007) and Episcopal Vicar for Clergy (2007-2009). In 2009, Bishop Bonnar was appointed pastor of Saint Bernard Parish, Mount Lebanon, PA, and from 2018 also served as administrator of Our Lady of Grace Parish, Scott Township, PA. In 2020, he was named pastor of Saint Aidan Parish, Wexford, PA. On November 17, 2020, His Holiness Pope Francis appointed him as the sixth Bishop of Youngstown, Ohio.

In addition to his ministerial assignments, Bishop Bonnar has also served on the Diocese of Pittsburgh Post-Ordination Board, Clergy Personnel Board, Seminary Admissions Board, Chair of the Permanent Diaconate Admissions Board, Chair of the Priestly Formation Board, Chair of the Priesthood Candidate Admission Board, and Chair of Catholic High Schools of the Diocese of Pittsburgh Committee. Since 2014, Bishop Bonnar has been the editor of The Priest magazine and in 2020 was appointed a member of the National Advisory Board for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. For 12 years Bishop Bonnar served as a chaplain to the NFL Pittsburgh Steelers professional football team.

Walsh University Commencement Exercises begin Friday, May 6, with a Toast to the Tassel reception for graduating seniors and families at The Marlene and Joe Toot Global Learning Center and the President’s Awards Dinner honoring outstanding seniors, by invitation-only, in the Barrette Business and Community Center, Saturday, at 12 p.m., all graduates are invited to the Baccalaureate Holy Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel.