May 19, 2010 // Local
Bishop D’Arcy receives President’s Medal at Saint Mary’s College commencement
NOTRE DAME — Most Rev. John M. D’Arcy, bishop-emeritus of the Diocese of Fort-Wayne South Bend, and John J. O’Connor, outgoing chair of the college’s board of trustees were the recipients of the prestigious President’s Medal at the 163rd Annual Commencement at Saint Mary’s College, held Saturday, May 15. The medal is presented rarely and exclusively to those who have offered exceptional contributions to the life of the college and society.
Bishop D’Arcy, who retired in January, has been a faithful servant to the people of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend for 25 years. As bishop, he engaged in ongoing dialogue with four Saint Mary’s presidents, and in 1991, Bishop D’Arcy received an honorary degree from the college. He participated regularly in campus events and enjoyed a climate of trust, mutual understanding and shared vision with the college.
As his citation reads, “Always pastoral, he frequently celebrated Mass with students. He lingered long afterward to answer questions and engage in conversation with the young women who were interested in deepening their faith. As the celebrant of our baccalaureate Mass, he shared the story of his graduation without any special honors, not even the prize for religion. He told students and parents that the greatest award of all, the one that counted most, was their diploma from Saint Mary’s College.”
John J. O’Connor, of New Canaan, Conn., is the vice chancellor and secretary of the State University of New York and also the president of its Research Foundation. The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States. He brought more than 25 years of senior level expertise in higher education to his position on the Saint Mary’s College Board of Trustees. He serves as a director of the American Ditchley Foundation, the King Juan Carlos Foundation, and a fellow of the British Royal Society for the Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce.
Most trustees have long ties to the college as either alumnae or parents. O’Connor is neither of these, a fact that makes his 12 years of service even more extraordinary. He has been a wise counsel to two presidents and a dedicated leader in his position as chair of the board. Trustee Mary L. Burke, 1985, was elected as the new chair of the board at the body’s most recent meeting, April 22-23.
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