April 28, 2014
Kathleen Blatz, a former legislator, judge and chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, will deliver the Saint John's University commencement address at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 18, in Saint John's Abbey and University Church.
Blatz will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
Michael Rogers, a graduating communication major from Mankato, Minn., will be the student commencement speaker, as selected by the Saint John's senior class.
The 2014 Saint John's graduation class includes 454 undergraduate men, the fourth-largest class in school history, and 23 School of Theology•Seminary graduates. When combined with the College of Saint Benedict's 495 graduates, this year's undergraduate graduating class is 949, the second-largest combined class.
Blatz was appointed Minnesota Supreme Court associate justice on Nov. 1, 1996, and then served as chief justice of the court from 1998 to 2006.
She earned a bachelor of arts degree summa cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 1976, as well as a master of social work degree from the University of Minnesota in 1978, and a Juris Doctor cum laude from the University of Minnesota in 1984.
Blatz served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1979-94. During that time she was also an associate attorney for Popham, Haik, Schnobrich & Kaufman, and an assistant Hennepin County attorney. She became a Hennepin County district court judge in 1994, and then was appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 1996.
Since her time as chief justice, Blatz has been a private attorney specializing in arbitration and mediation and has been involved in multiple trustee and director positions.
She has been honored nationally and regionally with dozens of awards for her public service achievements and in 2000, Blatz received the Colman J. Barry Award for Distinguished Contributions to Religion and Society from Saint John's.