CSB commencement features Denise DeVaan '75 as speaker; kicks off centennial celebration

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April 29, 2013

Denise DeVaan '75

MaryAnn Baenninger

Harvey Jewett

Denise DeVaan '75, senior consultant with ICF International, will deliver the address during the 98th annual commencement ceremony at the College of Saint Benedict at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 11, in the Clemens Field House/Haehn Campus Center on the College of Saint Benedict campus, St. Joseph, Minn.

The commencement ceremony will kick off the centennial celebration for CSB - A Century of Connection. This significant moment in the college's history serves as the juncture between the first 100 years and the college's next 100 years of women's education.

During the ceremony, CSB will present its President's Medal to Harvey Jewett, a member of the CSB Board of Trustees.

MaryAnn Baenninger, president of CSB, will receive honorary bachelor of arts and doctor of humane letters degrees from the college in recognition of her skilled leadership in higher education, unwavering commitment to the liberal arts, outstanding accomplishments at CSB and her devotion to the development of young women at the college.

Alivia Tison, a senior Hispanic studies major from Des Moines, Iowa, will be the student commencement speaker. She was selected by this year's senior class.

The 2013 CSB graduating class includes 514 women, which is the largest graduating class in CSB's history. When combined with Saint John's University's 409 undergraduate men, this year's combined undergraduate graduating class totals 923.

DeVaan graduated from CSB in 1975 after majoring in theology, and went on to earn her master's degree in human development from Saint Mary's University in Winona, Minn. In addition, DeVaan has received certifications from Gallup Leadership Institute and W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Harvard University and the University of St. Thomas.

In 1997, after leading a public policy campaign to win passage of the Family Assets for Independence in Minnesota (FAIM) legislation, DeVaan began her Denise DeVaan LLC consulting business with the goal of leading the design and implementation of FAIM, which helps increase financial stability among Minnesota's low-wage earners.

Through her role as a senior consultant with the ICF International consulting firm, she helps to lead national financial asset building projects for the Federal Department of Health & Human Services, Washington, D.C.  

DeVaan was the recipient of the National Kellogg Fellows Leadership Award. In 2011, she was awarded the first Social Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship at CSB and SJU.

President's Medal

Jewett is an attorney and has served 20 years on the CSB Board of Trustees. Early in his career, he worked as a law clerk for a U.S. district judge, served as captain in the Army and eventually became a partner at Siegel, Barnett & Schutz, in Aberdeen, S.D.

Jewett has been a member of numerous boards, including 18 years on the South Dakota Board of Regents (10 as president). Other board memberships include the Children's Home Society, the Great Plains Education Foundation, the Dakota Corps Scholarship Program, the Hatterscheidt Foundation, the Super 8 Franchise Advisory Board, the University of South Dakota Foundation and the Catholic Foundation of Eastern South Dakota Board. Jewett has also served as general counsel for Super 8 Motels, Inc. and as president and chief operating officer for Super 8 Enterprises and The Rivett Group LLC.

The President's Medal is awarded to members of the CSB community who have demonstrated extraordinary loyalty, dedication and service to the college and its mission of liberal arts education in the Benedictine tradition. Recipients receive a symbolic representation of the President's Medal that exhibits the seal of the college.

Past recipients of the award include Dan and Mabel Coborn, philanthropists and chairman of Coborn's Inc.; Telzena Coakley, a retired educator from the Bahamas; and Kathy Cooney, executive vice president, chief administrative officer and chief financial officer for HealthPartners and past chairperson of the CSB Board of Trustees.