Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

University of Portland awards honorary doctorate to Bishop Skylstad

the Inland Register

(From the May 21, 2009 edition of the Inland Register)

Bishop Skylstad received an honorary doctorate from the University of Portland, Ore., during commencement exercises May 3. (IR photo courtesy of the University of Portland)

The University of Portland bestowed an honorary doctorate on Bishop William Skylstad during the 108th annual commencement exercises May 3 at the school’s sports dome.

A co-author of the Northwest Catholic bishops’ pastoral letter on the Columbia River, the University called Bishop Skylstad “an environmental advocate” and, during his tenure as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, that he was known for “his opposition to abortion and devotion to social justice.” Also honored was Portland’s Archbishop John Vlazny, to whom the University gave its Christus Magister Medal, the highest honor awarded at the university. University officials cited the archbishop’s “humor, honesty, and devotion to service and teaching.”

Also receiving honorary degrees were Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa; Dan O’Neill, co-founder of Mercy Corps; Chen Yi, classical music composer and professor at the University of Missouri in Kansas City; Ralph Miller, an Oregon businessman and member of the university’s Board of Regents; and Kathy Johnson, former chief nursing officer for Providence Health System, who played a role in creating the Providence Scholars program at the University.

Keynote speaker at commencement was entrepreneur and environmental activist Paul Hawken, author of Blessed Unrest, the story of a worldwide environmental movement that is largely unseen by politicians or the media. In his teens, Hawken worked on the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s staff in Selma, Ala., and was later kidnapped by the Ku Klux Klan. In his 20s he founded a natural food company.

Holy Cross Father William Beauchamp, the university’s president, conferred nearly 600 bachelor’s and more than 100 master’s degrees.

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