Saint Louis University

Judge Jimmie M. Edwards returns to his alma mater next month to address Saint Louis University graduates during SLU's 2014 Spring Commencement. The ceremony begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 17, in Chaifetz Arena.

Judge Jimmie M.Edwards

On the bench for more than two decades, the SLU alumnus is the founder of the Innovative Concept Academy, a school of last resort for young people who have been expelled from the public school system or are under the supervision of the city's juvenile court.

Edwards' efforts have earned him significant national acclaim. Among his many honors, he was named one of People magazine's "Heroes of the Year" in 2011. Last year, he became the first Missouri judge to earn the William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence, which is one of the most prestigious honors bestowed upon a judge in the United States.

Edwards was appointed circuit judge for the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court in 1992. He has served as a Special Missouri Supreme Court Judge and is the former Chief Juvenile Court Judge for the City of St. Louis. He earned his bachelor's degree from SLU in 1978 and his law degree in 1981. In addition, he has served as an adjunct faculty member in the University's School of Law.

"Judge Edwards represents the very best of what it means to be a Saint Louis University graduate -- living our mission and bringing education to those who need it most within our community," said Interim University President Bill Kauffman. "I know his extraordinary leadership, vision and commitment to serving others will inspire our graduates."

During the ceremony, Edwards will receive an honorary doctor of laws from the University. SLU also will bestow honorary degrees on four other individuals May 17. They are:

Peggy Ritter

Peggy Ritter: A 1961 graduate of SLU's Doisy College of Health Sciences, Ritter is one of the St. Louis region's most involved civic leaders. For more than a quarter century, Ritter has co-chaired the Bob Costas Benefit for SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center, an annual event that has raised more than $12 million in the name of health care for children of all backgrounds.

Many of the area's other top nonprofits have turned to Ritter for her leadership to make their major fundraising events successful, including the St. Louis Symphony and the Missouri Botanical Garden.

She also has served on the boards of the Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis Zoo, Mercy Medical Center, Sheldon Concert Hall, Dance St. Louis and many others. She has been lauded for her efforts, including being named a "St. Louis Woman of Achievement" and receiving a "Woman of the Year" award from Variety, the Children's Charity of St. Louis.

David and Thelma Steward

David and Thelma Steward: One of the nation's most successful African-American entrepreneurs, David Steward is the co-founder of World Wide Technology Inc., which is among the largest minority-owned businesses in the United States. Ebony magazine has named him one of the "100 Most Influential Black Americans," while the Small Business Administration has tapped him as a "Top Minority Entrepreneur."

Together, the Stewards founded a Bible study program called "Doing Business by the Book," which has drawn governors, senators and other important dignitaries. The Sunday school class was the catalyst for David Steward's 2004 critically acclaimed book, Doing Business by the Good Book: 52 Lessons on Success Straight from the Bible, which former President George H.W. Bush has praised for promoting an "idea that betters the way we live and work."

Joseph Allen Tetlow, S.J.: An educator, author and spiritual director, Tetlow is considered among the world's leading authorities on Ignatian Spirituality and is the author of several noteworthy books about the subject. He is known for his efforts to make relevant for the modern world the 500-year-old concept of spirituality based on the teachings of Jesuit founder St. Ignatius of Loyola.

Joseph Tetlow, S.J.

From 1996 to 2004, Tetlow led the Secretariat for Ignatian Spirituality in Rome, which guides the efforts of more than 200 Jesuit retreat houses and centers for spirituality around the world. A respected leader in Catholic higher education, Tetlow also has served as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Loyola University New Orleans and the president of the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, Calif.

Tetlow earned his Licentiate in Sacred Theology from SLU in 1962 and served as a professor of spiritual theology at the University from 1992-1996. In 2011, he returned to SLU as a professor emeritus and writer-in-residence.

In addition to being honored during the spring commencement, Tetlow will deliver the homily during SLU's annual Baccalaureate Mass for graduates and their families on Friday, May 16, in St. Francis Xavier College Church.

About SLU's Class of 2014
This year, nearly 2,400 students are graduating from Saint Louis University. Among the approximately 1,400 undergraduates earning degrees, there are 118 international students representing 39 different countries; 14 veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces; and 612 students graduating with honors, including 121 who are summa cum laude (3.9 GPA or better).

Nursing and biology are the No. 1 and No. 2 majors among the undergraduates, and the College of Arts and Sciences is the most represented academic unit.

One other key fact about the Class of 2014: Five of the undergraduate students will have two reasons to celebrate during commencement as May 17th also is their birthday.

For more information about SLU's 2014 Spring Commencement, click here