With decades of community and servant leadership – Abbot John Klassen, OSB, of Saint John’s Abbey, and S. Michaela Hedican, OSB, former prioress of Saint Benedict’s Monastery – will deliver the Saint John’s University commencement address at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 8, in Saint John's Abbey and University Church. This will be the first commencement ceremony in its traditional location since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Klassen and Hedican will address the 2022 SJU graduating class of 350 undergraduate men and 23 School of Theology and Seminary graduates. The long-time leaders will also each receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in recognition of significant and lasting contributions to CSB and SJU. The honorary degree is awarded to those who have distinguished themselves through humanitarian and philanthropic contributions to society.
“It will be an amazing day to celebrate Saint John’s commencement with the graduates and their families in the iconic Abbey and University Church,” said James Mullen, SJU transitional president. “There is no better setting to honor the accomplishments of this year’s graduating class, after dealing with two years of the pandemic, and send them off to live lives rich with purpose and meaning.”
Jack Fogelberg, a graduating global business leadership major from Edina, Minnesota, will be the student commencement speaker. As a student, Fogelberg worked in the SJU paint shop.
During the ceremony, SJU will present its President’s Medal to Richard Adamson, SJU vice president of finance and administration, whose dedicated career has strengthened SJU for years to come and who is retiring at the end of this academic year. The President’s Medal is awarded to those members of the SJU community who have demonstrated extraordinary loyalty, dedication and service to the university and its mission of liberal arts education in the Benedictine tradition.
Adamson has served as the SJU vice president of finance and administration for over 15 years. During that time, he has established a remarkable record and has set the university on a strong financial footing through wise management of budgets and strategic investment in the Saint John’s physical plant.
About the speakers
Klassen has been abbot of Saint John’s Abbey since 2000. He graduated from Saint John’s Preparatory School in 1967 and SJU in 1971. After entering Saint John’s Abbey, he obtained his Master of Divinity from Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary in 1977. He obtained his Ph.D. in chemistry from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., then went on to teach chemistry and serve as department chair at CSB and SJU.
Hedican is currently director of oblates and the former prioress at Saint Benedict’s Monastery. She is also the former prioress of Saint Bede’s Monastery in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and former president of the Federation of Saint Benedict. Hedican is a graduate of the College of Saint Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota, and holds two master’s degrees, one in religious education from Seattle University and the other in theology from Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary. She was named one of the outstanding Catholics of the Year in 2016 by the global Catholic newspaper, Our Sunday Visitor.