Catholic Charities CEO Will Be Keynote Speaker at GU’s Graduation Ceremony for Undergrads
Rob McCann will also receive DeSmet Medal in recognition of his career of service.
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News Brief by Cassy Benefield
Graduation caps, gowns and celebrations will fill Gonzaga University’s campus this Mother’s Day weekend with three graduation services. Gonzaga anticipates conferring degrees to 1,278 undergraduates, 734 graduate and doctoral students and 132 law students.
Robert “Rob” McCann, CEO of Catholic Charities Eastern Washington (CCEW), will be the keynote speaker Sunday for GU’s undergraduate ceremony.
McCann is an alumni with a M.A. and Ph.D. from Gonzaga, and as part of the ceremony, he will receive the DeSmet Medal in recognition of his career of service.
The award to be given to McCann is named in honor of the Society of Jesus missionary, Pierre Jean DeSmet, “a pioneer explorer and Christian apostle of the Pacific Northwest,” according to an April 19, 1963, article from The Catholic Northwest Progress digitized online.
“’The DeSmet Medal is the highest award given by Gonzaga and is bestowed annually on an individual, who like Father DeSmet, has displayed real Christian community service to the Pacific Northwest,’” said the Very Rev. John P. Leary in the above article.
As the CEO of CCEW, McCann oversees a $28 million annual budget, 360 employees and over 6,300 volunteers. He has worked for Catholic Charities Eastern Washington for the past 20 years.
His career of service also includes the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and working with Catholic Relief Services in over a dozen countries.
The undergraduate ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena with the reception following on the Herak Quad Lawn on Gonzaga’s campus.
Saturday’s Class of 2023 Commencement events feature the Law School and Graduate School graduations and receptions and a commencement mass.
- Law School, 9 a.m., McCarthey Athletic Center with reception to follow at the Law School.
- Graduate School, noon, McCarthey Athletic Center with a reception to follow on the Herak Quad.
- Commencement Mass, 3:30 p.m., McCarthey Athletic Center. Jesuit and guest concelebrants.
For more information, visit gonzaga.edu/commencement.
Cassy (pronounced like Cassie but spelled with a ‘y’) Benefield is a wife and mother, a writer and photographer and a huge fan of non-fiction. She has traveled all her life, first as an Army brat. She is a returned Peace Corps volunteer (2004-2006) to Romania where she mainly taught Conversational English. She received her bachelor’s in journalism from Cal Poly Technical University in San Luis Obispo, California. She finds much comfort in her Savior, Jesus Christ, and considers herself a religion nerd who is prone to buy more books, on nearly any topic, than she is ever able to read. She is the associate editor of FāVS.News.