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Emmy-Award-Winning Actor and St. Louis Native Jon Hamm to Deliver May 2024 Commencement Address


Emmy-award-winning actor Jon Hamm will return to his hometown of St. Louis to deliver the spring commencement address this year at Saint Louis University. 

The ceremony begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 18, in Chaifetz Arena. The event also will be live-streamed on and archived on SLU’s YouTube channel

Jon Hamm
Jon Hamm will deliver the May 2024 Commencement address at Saint Louis University. Submitted Photo.

Hamm won acclaim for his portrayal of the high-powered advertising executive Don Draper on AMC's award-winning drama series "Mad Men." He earned numerous accolades for his performance, including an Emmy Award in 2015 for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series, Golden Globe Awards in 2016 and 2008, Television Critics Association Awards in 2011 and 2015, a Critics' Choice Television Award in 2011, as well as multiple Screen Actors Guild nominations.  

 Hamm has appeared in numerous acclaimed series, including having roles in the fifth season of FX’s critically acclaimed anthology series, "Fargo,” Apple TV+’s “The Morning Show,” and Neil Gaiman’s “Good Omens” for Amazon Prime Video. He also has held roles in many movies, including “Baby Driver,” “The Town” and “Million Dollar Arm.” 

While he was recognized for his dramatic work in “Mad Men,” Hamm also carved out a career in comedy. His appearances on the Emmy-winning comedy, “30 Rock,” from 2009-2012 earned three Emmy nominations for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series. He also has hosted “Saturday Night Live” three times, once in 2008 and twice in 2010. 

Hamm attended John Burroughs School in Ladue, where he was a member of the football, baseball, and swim teams. After graduating, he headed to the University of Missouri and received his Bachelor of Arts in English. Armed with his degree, Hamm headed back home and taught at his alma mater. Before heading to Hollywood, he spent a year working with eighth-grade students teaching them acting.  

In addition to his acting work, Hamm has been a supporter of numerous charities including the Alzheimer’s Association, Cancer Research Institute, Stand Up To Cancer and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Hamm also helped local organizations like the St. Louis County Library Foundation and St. Louis Actor’s Studio Small Professional Theater Sustainment Fund raise money during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Honorary Degree Recipients 

In addition to delivering the commencement address, Hamm will join three SLU alums in receiving honorary degrees. Fr. P. Marie Joseph Christie, S.J. (CSB ’99) and Susan E. Klepper, Ph.D. (Doisy ’66) and William M. Klepper, Ph.D.  (Arts and Sciences ’66). 

Fr. P. Marie Joseph Christie, S.J. (CSB ’99) 

 Fr. P. Marie Joseph Christie, S.J. (CSB ’99) 
 Fr. P. Marie Joseph Christie, S.J. (CSB ’99). Submitted Photo.

Christie, a Jesuit priest, is the Secretary for Higher Education of the Society of Jesus.

As the Secretary, Fr. Christie works in Rome and assists and advises the Superior General of the Society of Jesus on matters pertaining to higher education.

He is also responsible for promoting discernment, networking, and collaboration among Jesuit Higher Education Institutions around the world.  

Fr. Christie earned his MBA and Ph.D. in Business Administration with a specialization in Decision Sciences.

His doctoral dissertation “The Cross-cultural Comparison of Ethical Attitudes of Business Executives in India, South Korea, and the USA” is considered to be a seminal work in the area of cross-cultural research methodology. 

Susan E. Klepper, Ph.D. (Doisy ’66) and William M. Klepper, Ph.D.  (Arts and Sciences ’66)

Susan E. Klepper, Ph.D. (Doisy ’66) and William M. Klepper, Ph.D. (Arts and Sciences ’66). Submitted Photo.
Susan E. Klepper, Ph.D. (Doisy ’66) and William M. Klepper, Ph.D. (Arts and Sciences ’66). Submitted Photo.

Susan E. Klepper, Ph.D., and William M. Klepper, Ph.D., met during their first year at Saint Louis University.

They both graduated in 1966, Susan with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy and William with a Bachelor of Science Degree in biology.  

William Klepper continued his education at SLU — he picked up a Master’s Degree in Education in 1967 and earned his doctorate in 1975. In between those degrees, he served as the Associate Dean of Students at SLU from 1969 to 1971.

That job was the start of his career in higher education. He followed it with positions at the University of South Carolina and the College of New Jersey before ending up at his current location, Columbia University. William Klepper joined the Columbia Business School in 1996 and currently serves as the Academic Director in Executive Education and an adjunct professor.  

Columbia University also became a home for Susan Klepper. After earning her Master’s Degree from Hahnemann University in 1990 and her doctorate from Drexel University in 1996, she joined the Columbia University Medical Center faculty.

She took on the role of Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine-Physical Therapy in 1997 and served in that role until her retirement. She is now an emeritus professor.  

Precommencement Ceremonies 

In May, students at SLU may choose to walk in precommencement ceremonies for each college and school. This year’s precommencements kick off Wednesday, May 15. A complete schedule of precommencement events can be found at

Baccalaureate Mass 

The University’s annual Baccalaureate Mass is an opportunity for the SLU community to give thanks to God for the gifts and opportunities bestowed upon graduates and to pray for their continued protection as they are sent out for the greater glory of God and for the service of humanity. This year’s Baccalaureate Mass will be celebrated at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 16, in St. Francis Xavier College Church.