The Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas, bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Tucson and chair of the board of directors of the National Catholic Educational Association, will serve as the keynote speaker at the 2018 Commencement Ceremony of the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) on Saturday (July 14).
“We are honored that Bishop Kicanas has accepted our invitation to join in celebrating our ACE graduates for their service to the mission of Catholic education,” said Rev. Timothy R. Scully, C.S.C., the Hackett Family Director of Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives.
“Bishop Kicanas has devoted his life to ensuring that all children, particularly those on the margins, have access to an excellent Catholic education. His ministry shows his deep commitment to the life-changing impact that a Catholic school has on children, their families and their communities. We at ACE are grateful for our long partnership with him and the Diocese of Tucson.”
Bishop Kicanas served as the bishop of Tucson from 2003 to 2017. He is the former vice president and secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and he serves on the USCCB Catholic education and communications committees and the subcommittee on the Church in Africa, and is a consultant on the subcommittee on Hispanic affairs. He is a member of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc.
In 2010, Bishop Kicanas and ACE started two Notre Dame ACE Academies, St. John the Evangelist and Santa Cruz Catholic schools in Tucson. The two schools were the first in a national network of partnerships between Notre Dame and dioceses dedicated to increasing excellence in teaching and learning and advancement in a context imbued with the Catholic faith.
ACE commencement exercises are set for 3:30 p.m. in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. Notre Dame will bestow 119 graduate degrees upon a next generation of Catholic school teachers and leaders who completed periods of formation and service in two nationally recognized programs.
Eighty-nine ACE Teaching Fellows graduates will receive master of education degrees as the culmination of two years of academic study combined with teaching in Catholic K-12 schools in underserved areas around the country. Thirty graduates from ACE’s Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program will receive master of art degrees in educational leadership, concluding 26 months of formation that prepared them to be principals and other leaders in Catholic education.
ACE will also give three awards during the ceremony. Flannery O’Connor and Michael Debri will receive the 2018 Michael Pressley Award for Excellence in Catholic Education. This award is presented to graduates of the ACE Teaching Fellows program who have distinguished themselves in making significant contributions to the ministry of Catholic education.
The Michael Pressley Award for a Promising Scholar in the Education Field will be given to Anna Arias. This award honors an ACE graduate whose work in academia echoes Pressley’s commitment to strengthening education through research and scholarship.