Proposal and Commendation to approve Honorary Degree from Viterbo University
Sister Grace McDonald: Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa
We propose that Sister Grace McDonald be awarded the honorary degree of Humane Letters, for the significant leadership she gave to Viterbo College, to higher education in the State of Wisconsin, to the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, and to religious women in Wisconsin and on the national level.
As president of then Viterbo College from 1960 to 1970, she expanded the physical facilities through the construction of the six-story addition to Marian Hall, the $5.3 million dollar Fine Arts Center, and the conversion of the former St. Wenceslaus School into an excellent facility for the department of nursing. Furthermore, it was during her presidency that the decision to introduce a baccalaureate program in nursing and to admit men was made.
She was elected president of the Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration in 1970, serving two 4-year terms. In that capacity, she furthered renewal according to Vatican II, and exercised leadership in the Leadership Conference of Women Religious on both the state and national level. Governor Patrick Lucey appointed her to the Wisconsin Ethics Board in 1973, and she served on the Church Law Committee for the revision on Canon Law.
Her doctoral dissertation, History of the Irish in Wisconsin in the Nineteenth Century, published in 1954, was republished by the Arnold Press in 1976.
Sister Grace McDonald will be remembered for her scholarship as a historian, her vision in expanding the physical facilities of Viterbo College, her dedication, commitment, and leadership as a woman religious.