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Past Honorees

Saint Louis University's history of conferring honorary degrees dates back to 1844.


  • Commencement Speaker: Jon Hamm
    Award-winning actor
    Doctor of Fine Arts
  • P. Maria Joseph Christie, S.J.
    Secretary of higher education for the Society of Jesus
    Doctor of Public Service
  • Susan E. Klepper, Ph.D., and William M. Klepper, Ph.D.
    Emeritus professor at Columbia University and academic director at Columbia University
    Doctor of Education


  • Commencement Speaker: John O'Leary
    Author of On Fire and In Awe, and Motivational Speaker
    Doctor of Letters
  • Marlene Davis 
    Retired Alderwoman, 19th Ward of the City of St. Louis
    Doctor of Public Service
  • Marianne Muellerleile
    Doctor of Fine Arts


  • Commencement Speaker: Andrés Gallegos, J.D.
    Chairman, National Council on Disability
    Doctor of Public Service
  • Isiaah Crawford, Ph.D.
    President, University of Puget Sound
    Doctor of Education
  • Patrick P. Lee
    Engineer, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist
    Doctor of Technology
  • Joan and John Vatterott
    Philanthropists, Entrepreneurs and Co-founders, Access Academies
    Doctor of Education


  • Commencement Speaker: Alexander Garza, M.D.
    Chief Community Health Officer of SSM Health
    Doctor of Public Service
  • Brenda and Larry Thompson
    African American Art Collectors, Preservationists and Donors
    Doctor of Arts
  • Linda and Alan Vogt
    Student-Athlete Supporters
    Doctor of Commerce


  • Commencement Speaker: Tiffany Anderson, Ed.D.
    Superintendent, Topeka Public Schools 
    Doctor of Education
  • The Most Rev. Robert J. Carlson
    St. Louis Archbishop Emeritus
    Doctor of Divinity
  • The Saint Louis Jesuits (Bob Dufford, S.J., John Foley, S.J., Tim Manion, Robert “Roc” O’Connor, S.J., and Dan Schutte)
    Liturgical Musicians and Composers
    Doctor of Music


  • Commencement Speaker: Randall L. Stephenson
    Chairman and CEO, AT&T
    Doctor of Commerce
  • Robert Cardillo
    Former Director, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
    Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Marie Kenyon, J.D.
    Director, Peace and Justice Commission of the Archdiocese of St. Louis
    Doctor of Public Service
  • Donald Ross
    Retired Chairman, Enterprise
    Doctor of Commerce


  • Commencement Speaker: Ronald A. Mercier, S.J., Ph.D.
    Provincial of the USA Central and Southern Province of the Society of Jesus
    Doctor of Divinity
  • Rep. William “Bill” Lacy Clay Sr.
    Former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
    Doctor of Public Service
  • Francis G. Slay, J.D.
    Former Mayor, City of St. Louis
    Doctor of Public Service
  • José María Merino
    Spanish Writer/Member of the Royal Academic of Writers
    Doctor of Humane Letters (awarded March 7, 2018)
  • Isabel Gómez-Acebo Duque de Estrada
    Doctor of Humanities (awarded March 7, 2018)
  • Enrique Figaredo Alvargonzalez, S.J.
    Disability Advocate
    Doctor of Public Service (awarded March 7, 2018)


  • Commencement Speaker: Diana Natalicio, Ph.D.
    President, University of Texas at El Paso
    Doctor of Science
  • Rich McClure
    Former President, Unigroup; Co-Chair, the Ferguson Commission
    Doctor of Public Service
  • John Padberg, S.J.
    Scholar, Author and Former Director of the Institute of Jesuit Sources
    Doctor of Divinity
  • Rev. Starsky Wilson
    President and CEO, the Deaconess Foundation, and Pastor, Saint John’s Church
    Co-Chair, the Ferguson Commission
    Doctor of Public Service


  • Commencement Speaker: Kevin F. O'Malley, J.D.
    U.S. Ambassador to Ireland
    Doctor of Medical Science
  • Mary Jean Ryan, F.S.M.
    Former CEO of SSM Health
    Doctor of Public Service


  • Commencement Speaker: Garry Kasparov
    Chess Grandmaster and Founder of the United Civil Front Movement
    Doctor of Laws
  • Anita Lyons Bond
    Educator and Civil Rights Champion
    Doctor of Humanities
  • Gene Kranz
    Former Director of Mission Control, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Doctor of Science


  • Commencement Speaker: Jimmie Edwards, J.D.
    Judge, 22nd Judicial Court of St. Louis; Founder, Innovative Concept Academy
    Doctor of Laws
  • Peggy Ritter
    Doctor of Humanities
  • David and Thelma Steward
    Entrepreneurs and Philanthropists
    Doctor of Humanities
  • Joseph Tetlow, S.J.
    Spiritual Director and Author
    Doctor of Humane Letters


  • Commencement Speaker: John Foppe
    Author and Executive Director, Society of St. Vincent de Paul
    Doctor of Humanities and Public Service
  • Metee Auapinyakul
    Executive Director, Banpu Public Company Limited
    Doctor of Business, Engineering and Technology
  • Joe and Loretta Scott
    Entrepreneurs and Philanthropists
    Doctor of Humanities
  • Chanin Vongkusolkit
    Chief Executive Officer, President and Director, Banpu Public Company Limited
    Doctor of Business, Engineering and Technology


  • Commencement Speaker: James Martin, S.J.
    Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Doug and Ann Brown
    Doctor of Humanities
  • His Beatitude Bechara Peter Rai
    Patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church
    Doctor of Humanities
  • Paul A. Young, Ph.D.
    Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Saint Louis University
    Doctor of Science


  • Commencement Speaker: Anthony R. Tersigni
    President and CEO of Ascension Health Inc.
    Doctor of Public Service
  • Brother Mel Meyer, S.M.
    Doctor of Fine Arts
  • Harlene E. and Marvin S. Wool
    Entrepreneurs and Philanthropists
    Doctor of Humanities


  • Commencement Speaker: Most. Rev. Pietro Sambi
    Archbishop and Apostolic Nuncio to the United States
    Doctor of Laws
  • Father Valentine Peter, J.C.D., S.T.D.
    Former Executive Director, Boys Town
    Doctor of Humanities
  • Sister Mary Antona Ebo, F.S.M.
    Civil Rights Pioneer
    Doctor of Humanities


  • Commencement Speaker: Greg Mortenson
    Humanitarian and Author
    Doctor of Humanities
  • William H.T. "Bucky" Bush
    Co-founder and Chairman, Bush O’Donnell Capital Partners
    Doctor of Law
  • Nancy and Al Siwak
    Business Owners and Community Volunteers
    Doctor of Humanities


  • Commencement Speaker: Joe Buck
    Broadcaster, Fox Sports
    Doctor of Humanities
  • Maxine Clark
    Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Bear, Build-A-Bear Workshop
    Doctor of Laws
  • Charles and Shirley Drury
    Hoteliers and Philanthropists
    Doctor of Humanities


  • Commencement Speaker: Lawrence "Yogi" Berra
    Baseball Hall of Famer and Author
    Doctor of Laws
  • Benjamin Carson, M.D.
    Neurosurgeon and Author
    Doctor of Science
  • Chang-Soo Huh
    Chairman and CEO, GS Holdings Grou
    Doctor of Laws
  • Joseph and Rosemary Shaughnessy
    Philanthropists and Community Supporters
    Doctor of Laws


  • Commencement Speaker: Chris Lowney, M.A.
    Author, Heroic Leadership
    Doctor of Laws
  • Maurice B. McNamee, S.J., Ph.D.
    Professor Emeritus, Saint Louis University
    Doctor of Fine Arts
  • Nasrallah Peter Cardinal Sfeir (awarded June 30, 2006)
    Patriarch of Antioch and All the East
    Doctor of Laws
  • Ruth Stroble and Frank Stroble, M.B.A.
    Supporters of Catholic Education
    Doctor of Humanities


  • Commencement Speaker: Houston A. Baker Jr., Ph.D.
    Professor, Duke University
    Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Joe Edwards
    St. Louis-area Developer
    Doctor of Fine Arts
  • Bernadine Healy, M.D.
    Cardiologist and Health Administrator
    Doctor of Science
  • Floyd D. Loop, M.D.
    Cardiologist, The Cleveland Clinic
    Doctor of Science


  • Commencement Speaker: Wolf Blitzer, M.A.
    CNN Anchor
    Doctor of Public Service
  • Clara L. Adams-Ender, M.S.N., M.M.A.S.
    Brigadier General and Nurse, U.S. Army
    Doctor of Science
  • Kathleen Hummel, M.S.W., and Scott Hummel, M.S.W.
    Founders, Our Little Haven
    Doctor of Humanities
  • Bishop Robert J. Shaheen
    Bishop, Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon
    Doctor of Humanities


  • Commencement Speaker: Bill McClellan
    Columnist, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • Martin L. Mathews
    President, CEO & Co-founder Mathews-Dickey Boys’ and Girls’ Club
    Doctor of Humanities
  • Emily Rauh Pulitzer, M.A.
    Founder and President, Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts
    Doctor of Fine Arts
  • Frank Reale, S.J., M.A.
    Provincial, Jesuits of the Missouri Province
    Doctor of Humanities


  • Commencement Speaker: Alice Bourke Hayes, Ph.D.
    President, University of San Diego
    Doctor of Laws
  • Bishop Joseph Lee Han-taek, S.J., M.S.
    Auxiliary Bishop of Seoul Korea
    Doctor of Laws
  • Mary Ann Barrett Shanahan
    Community Volunteer
    Doctor of Humanities
  • Michael F. Shanahan Sr.
    Chairman of the Board and CEO, Engineered Support Systems Inc.
    Doctor of Law


  • Commencement Speaker: Arnold L. Mitchem, Ph.D.
    President, Council for Opportunity in Education
    Doctor of Humanities
  • Richard Baron, J.D.
    President, McCormack Baron & Associates
    Doctor of Fine Arts
  • Margaret A. Farley, R.S.M., Ph.D.
    Gilbert L. Stark Professor of Theological Ethics, Yale University Divinity School
    Doctor of Humanities
  • Elizabeth and Raymond Kalinowski
    Community Volunteers
    Doctor of Humanities


  • Commencement Speaker: August A. Busch III
    Chairman of the Board and President, Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc.
    Doctor of Laws
  • Mary Adele Bruemmer, M.A.
    University Volunteer
    Doctor of Humanities
  • Marilyn Fox
    Community Volunteer
    Doctor of Public Service
  • Sam Fox
    Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Harbour Group Ltd.
    Doctor of Public Service
  • Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, Ph.D.
    Bishop of Belleville, Illinois
    Doctor of Humanities


  • Commencement Speakers: Cokie Roberts
    Journalist, This Week with Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts
    Doctor of Public Service
    Steven V. Roberts
    Shapiro Professor of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University
    Doctor of Public Service
  • Archbishop Joseph Pittau, S.J., Ph.D.
    Secretary, Congregation for Catholic Education
    Doctor of Laws
  • Hon. Ronnie L. White, J.D.
    Judge, Missouri Supreme Court
    Doctor of Laws


  • Commencement Speaker: Tim Russert, J.D.
    Moderator, NBC’s Meet the Press
    Doctor of Public Service
  • Judith Spector Aronson, Ph.D., and Adam Aronson, B.S.
    Art Patrons
    Doctor of Fine Arts
  • Frankie Muse Freeman, J.D.
    Civil Rights Leader
    Doctor of Laws
  • Judith Pearce Jones and Dennis M. Jones
    Founders, Jones Medical Industries Inc.
    Doctor of Humanities
  • Otto Felix Schwarz, Ph.D.
    President and CEO, IMMUNO
    Doctor of Science


  • Commencement Speaker: Anne Keefe, M.A.
    Journalist, KETC-Channel 9
    Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Ira Herskowitz, Ph.D.
    Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California-San Francisco
    Doctor of Science
  • Richard J. Mark, M.S.
    President and CEO, St. Mary’s Hospital of East St. Louis, Ill.
    Doctor of Public Service
  • Mary Ross
    Retiring Alderwoman-Fifth Ward City of St. Louis
    Doctor of Public Service
  • Janet D. Rowley, M.D., D.Sc.
    Professor of Medicine, Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, University of Chicago
    Doctor of Science


  • Commencement Speaker: Michael Novak, M.A.
    George Fredrick Jewett Chair in Religion and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute, Washington, D.C.; Theologian, Author and Former U.S. Ambassador
    Doctor of Humanities
  • Daniel T. Barry, Ph.D., M.D.
    Astronaut, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Doctor of Science
  • Alfred Fleishman
    Co-Founder, Fleishman-Hillard Inc.
    Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Ada Sue Hinshaw, Ph.D., R.N.
    Dean and Professor, University of Michigan School of Nursing
    Former Director, the National Institutes of Health Center of Nursing Research
    Doctor of Science
  • Harry Wu, Ph.D.
    Human Rights Activist
    Doctor of Humanities


  • Commencement Speaker: Jack Buck
    Sports Director, KMOX/CBS Radio
    Doctor of Humanities
  • John E. Connelly
    Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, JEC Enterprises Ltd.
    Doctor of Humanities
  • Archbishop Justin Rigali
    Archbishop of St. Louis
    Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Andrew Young
    U.S. Representative to the United Nations and Civil and Human Rights Leader
    Doctor of Laws (awarded Jan. 31, 1995)


  • Commencement Speaker: Bishop Hays H. Rockwell, D.H.
    Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Missouri
    Doctor of Humanities
  • Mildred L. Jamison, R.N.
    Founder of Faith House
    Doctor of Humanities
  • John W. O’Malley, S.J., Ph.D.
    Professor of Church History, Weston School of Theology
    Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Donald M. Suggs, D.D.S.
    President and Publisher, St. Louis American
    Doctor of Laws


  • Commencement Speaker: John W. Padberg, S.J., Ph.D.
    Director, Institute of Jesuit Sources
  • Ian T. Jackson, M.D.
    Director of the Institute for Craniofacial and Reconstructive Surgery
    Doctor of Science
  • Sisters Mary Joel Kolmer; Shirley Kolmer, Ph.D.; Kathleen McGuire, Ph.D.; Agnes Mueller; and Barbara Ann Muttra (posthumously)
    Accepting in their honor: Sister Mildred Gross
    Provincial of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ
    Doctor of Humanities
  • Jacob Neusner, Ph.D.
    Distinguished Research Professor, University of South Florida
    Doctor of Humane Letters


  • Commencement Speaker: Joseph Garagiola
    Co-host of NBC’s Today
    Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Mary Ann Eckhoff, S.S.N.D., Ph.D.
    Superintendent of Education, St. Louis Archdiocese
    Doctor of Humanities
  • Theodore McMillian, LL.D.
    Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
    Doctor of Laws
  • Kenneth D. Kaunda
    Former President of Zambia
    Doctor of Laws (awarded Oct. 14, 1992)
  • Gregorio Peces-Barba, Ph.D.
    Rector de la Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
    Doctor of Humanities (awarded Oct. 23, 1992)
  • Rosa Chacel
    Doctor of Letters (awarded Oct. 23, 1992)
  • Javier Gurpide
    Vice Presidente del Banco Bilbao Vizcaya
    Doctor of Laws (awarded Oct. 23, 1992)


  • Commencement Speaker: Edward J. (Ted) Koppel
    Anchor of ABC’s Nightline
    Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Charles Blakey Blackmar, LL.D.
    Missouri Chief Justice
    Doctor of Laws
  • Andrew M. Greeley, Ph.D.
    Sociologist, Educator and Writer
    Doctor of Humanities
  • Kathryn E. Nelson
    Program Director for the Danforth Foundation
    Doctor of Humanities
  • Paul H. Poberezny
    Chairman of the Board, Experimental Aircraft Assoc.
    Doctor of Science
  • Jon Sobrino, S.J., Ph.D.
    Professor of Theology, University of Central America
    Doctor of Humanities (awarded Feb. 25, 1991)


  • Commencement Speaker: Barbara Pierce Bush
    First Lady of the United States
    Doctor of Humanities
  • Clyde S. Cahill, LL.D.
    Circuit Judge, City of St. Louis
    Doctor of Laws
  • Leighton E. Cluff, M.D.
    President, Robert Wood Johnston Foundation
    Doctor of Science
  • Henry Givens Jr., Ph.D.
    President, Harris-Stowe State College
    Doctor of Humanities
  • Ellen Robinson Grass, LL.D., D.Sc.
    President, Grass Foundation
    Doctor of Science
  • Charles H. Hoessle
    Director, Saint Louis Zoo
    Doctor of Laws


  • Commencement Speaker: Ambassador Loret Miller Ruppe
    Director, Peace Corps; Ambassador to Norway
    Doctor of Public Service
  • Clarence C. Barksdale
    Vice Chairman, Boatmen’s Bancshares Inc.
    Doctor of Public Service
  • George E. Ganss, S.J., Ph.D.
    Director, Institute of Jesuit Sources
    Doctor of Laws
  • Gustavo Villapolos Salas, Ph.D.
    President, La Universidad Complutense
    Doctor of Laws
  • Adelaide Mahaffey Schlafly
    Community Volunteer
    Doctor of Public Service
  • Daniel L. Schlafly
    Former Chairman, SLU's Board of Trustees
    Doctor of Public Service


  • Commencement Speaker: Lawrence Biondi, S.J., Ph.D.
    President, Saint Louis University
  • Henry E. Hampton
    President, Blackside, Inc.
    Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Renilda Hilkemeyer, B.S., R.N.
    Retired Nursing Educator
    Doctor of Public Service
  • David Merrick
    Theatrical Producer
    Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Robert G. Petersdorf, M.D.
    President and Chief Executive Officer, Association of American Medical Colleges
    Doctor of Science
  • Fausto Cereti
    President and Chief Operating Officer, Alenia
    Doctor of Legal Laws (awarded April 8, 1988)


  • Commencement Speaker: George H.W. Bush
    Vice President of the United States
    Doctor of Legal Laws
  • Robert F. Hyland
    Regional Vice President, CBS Radio Division
    Doctor of Public Service
  • Harvey A. Itano, Ph.D., M.D.
    Professor of Pathology, University of California
    Doctor of Science


  • Commencement Speaker: Vincent C. Schoemehl Jr.
    Mayor, City of St. Louis
    Doctor of Public Service
  • C. Rollins Hanlon, M.D.
    Director of the American College of Surgeons
    Doctor of Science
  • Sanford N. McDonnell
    President and Chief Executive officer, McDonnell-Douglas Corp.
    Doctor of Science
  • William H. Oldendorf, M.D.
    Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry, University of California at Los Angeles
    Doctor of Science
  • Nathan B. Young, LL.D.
    Retired Attorney and Judge
    Doctor of Legal Laws
  • Umberto Nordio, Ph.D.*
    Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Alitalia Airlines
    Doctor of Legal Laws (awarded April 9, 1986)


  • Commencement Speaker: Richard A. Gephardt, LL.D.
    U.S. Representative from Missouri
    Doctor of Public Service
  • Robert M. Heyssel, M.D
    President, The Johns Hopkins Hospital
    Doctor of Science
  • Peter Sutherland
    Commissioner of the Commission of the European Economic Communities
    Doctor of Legal Laws
  • Harold S. Wood, Ph.D.
    Professor Emeritus of Aeronautical Administration, Parks College of Saint Louis University
    Doctor of Legal Laws (awarded July 30, 1985)


  • Commencement Speaker: John C. Danforth, LL.D.
    U.S. Senator from Missouri
    Doctor of Legal Laws
  • James D. Collins, Ph.D.
    Professor of Philosophy, Saint Louis University
    Doctor of Humane Letters
  • William A. Nolen, M.D.
    Physician and Author
    Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Walter J. Ong, S.J., Ph.D.
    University Professor of Humanities; William E. Haren Professor of English; Professor of Humanities in Psychiatry, Saint Louis University
    Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Joseph Cardinal Bernardin
    Archbishop of Chicago
    Doctor of Humane Letters (awarded March 11, 1984)


  • Art Buchwald
    Doctor of Humane Letters
  • John L. May
    Archbishop of St. Louis
    Doctor of Laws
  • John H. Poelker
    Former Mayor, City of St. Louis
    Doctor of Public Service
  • Leonard Slatkin
    Music Director, Saint Louis Symphony
    Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Leon R. Strauss
    Architect and Builder
    Doctor of Laws
  • William H. Rehnquist, LL.D.
    Justice, U.S. Supreme Court
    Doctor of Laws (awarded April 8, 1983)


  • Commencement Speaker: Peter H. Raven, Ph.D.*
    Director, Missouri Botanical Garden
    Doctor of Science
  • William H. Danforth
    Chancellor, Washington University
    Doctor of Laws
  • William Evans Douthit
    President, Urban League of St. Louis
    Doctor of Humane Letters
  • James Garber Galbraith, M.D.
    Professor of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery/Division of Neurosurgery, University of Alabama Birmingham
    Doctor of Science
  • John P. Raynor, S.J.
    President, Marquette University
    Doctor of Laws
  • Thomas Patrick Melady, Ph.D.
    Assistant Secretary of Postsecondary Education, U.S. Department of Education
    Doctor of Laws (awarded April 7, 1982)


  • John T. Noonan Jr., LL.D.
    Professor of Law, University of California-Berkeley School of Law
    Doctor of Laws


  • William J. Hogan
    Former Executive Vice President of Finance and Chairman, Finance Committee,
    American Airlines
    Doctor of Laws (awarded July 28, 1980)
  • Lord Patrick Arthur Devlin
    Baron, Life Peer-retired
    Doctor of Laws (awarded Oct. 18, 1980)