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April 26, 2002


LA CROSSE, Wis.— His Eminence William Cardinal Keeler will receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters during spring commencement on Sunday, May 12 at the La Crosse Center.

Cardinal Keeler was appointed archbishop of Baltimore by Pope John Paul II on April 11, 1989 and appointed to the College of Cardinals by Pope John Paul II on Nov. 26, 1994. An influential participant in a wide range of national and international issues, Cardinal Keeler was elected president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) and the U.S. Catholic Conference in 1992.

As part of his work with the NCCB, Cardinal Keeler has developed a reputation for effectively building interfaith bonds. He is particularly noted for his work in fostering an effective Catholic-Jewish dialogue and is the Episcopal moderator of Catholic-Jewish Relations of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. As chair of the NCCB’s Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligous Affairs from 1984-87, he helped arrange the Pope’s meetings with Jewish leaders in Miami and with Protestant leaders in Columbia, S.C. during the 1987 papal visit. Cardinal Keeler was appointed to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in the summer of 1994 and to the Congregation for the Oriental Churches in November 1994. He is the vice president of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association and a member of the Black and Native American Missions Board.

Among his many honors, he has received the Elizabeth Ann Seton Award from the national Catholic Educational Association, the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem Lifetime Achievement Award, the Mahmound Abu Saud Excellence Award from the American Muslim Council, and the Marylander of the Year Award in 1994 from The Baltimore Sun. He is also the recipient of honorary degrees from eight other universities.

Also at this year’s spring commencement, which begins at 10 a.m., Earl Madary ’88, President of the Faculty Assembly, will be the master of ceremonies; Sarah Klitzke ’02 will present the senior address, and Rose Ann Kazmierczak ’61 will give the alumni welcome. The benediction will be given by Rev. Raymond L. Burke, Bishop to the Diocese of La Crosse.

Viterbo University is a four-year, co-educational, liberal arts college in La Crosse, Wis. It was founded more than a century ago by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.

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