Business executive LeAnne Matthews Stewart, the current chair of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University Boards of Trustees and a 1987 CSB alumna, will deliver the College of Saint Benedict commencement address at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 7, in Clemens Field House on the CSB campus. This will be the first commencement ceremony in its traditional location since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stewart will address the 2022 CSB graduating class of 374 undergraduate women. Stewart will also receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in recognition of her significant achievements. The degree is awarded to those who have distinguished themselves through humanitarian and philanthropic contributions to society.
“This class, and all our students over the last two years – has adapted admirably to the challenges of the pandemic. So, I’m extremely pleased we can give them the commencement ceremony they’ve earned, here on our campus,” said Laurie Hamen, CSB transitional president. “LeAnne Stewart is an accomplished leader and an extraordinary Bennie, and her insights will serve our graduates well.”
Today Stewart is the chief financial officer of Axia Women’s Health in Voorhees, New Jersey. In 2021, she was named CFO of the Year by the Philadelphia Business Journal. Stewart graduated from CSB with a BA in accounting and earned her MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in 1997. She has been on the CSB Board of Trustees since 2005. In 2012, Stewart received the S. Emmanuel Renner Award for sharing her wisdom, experiences and financial resources to allow all women to receive the benefits of a CSB education.
Regan Dolezal, a graduating political science major with a global business leadership minor from Woodbury, Minnesota, will be the student commencement speaker. She is a videographer for Extending the Link, an admissions tour guide, and co-host of a podcast through the McCarthy Center called “I'm Glad You Asked.” Last summer, through the John Brandl Scholars Program, Dolezal interned for a non-governmental organization focused on education located in Arequipa, Peru called Helping Overcome Obstacles Peru. She recently received an award as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to the Czech Republic for this fall.
Medals for loyalty, dedication and service will be awarded
During the ceremony, the CSB President’s Medal will be presented to two long-time, outstanding CSB leaders. Kathy Kurvers Henderson ’85, former CSB trustee, and Susan Palmer, CSB vice president of finance and administration who is retiring at the end of this academic year, will receive the medal because they have demonstrated extraordinary loyalty, dedication and service to the college and its mission of liberal arts education in the Benedictine tradition.
Henderson served on the Saint Ben’s Board of Trustees for 10 years, until 2021. As a certified public accountant, she chaired the Strategic Resources and Business Infrastructure Committee and sat on the Audit Committee for the CSB Board. She helped build a strong financial foundation for the college, allowing Saint Ben’s to fulfill its mission with excellence. In 2020, she received the S. Emmanuel Renner Award for being a leader, steward and volunteer in service to CSB.
During her more than three decades at Saint Ben’s, Palmer has stewarded the finances of the college. Beginning as the controller in 1988, she was promoted to vice president for finance in 1999 and has brought clear vision and sound strategic operational leadership to all things CSB as well as to the college’s top leadership teams, the President’s Cabinet and Strategic Directions Council.