The Crusader Newspaper Group

Award-winning Columnist Maudlyne Ihejirika to deliver SXU Commencement address

It’s that time of year when students transition from scholars to career professionals. While donning academic regalia, graduates across the nation will hear inspirational speeches from those who have paved the way to success. Saint Xavier University (SXU) recently announced the 2017 Commencement Ceremony speakers who will share their knowledge and expertise while congratulating this year’s graduates on achieving their high-quality academic degrees.

President’s Fellow for Global Development at Purdue University Carolyn Y. Woo, Ph.D., is an honorary degree recipient who will deliver the Commencement address on Friday, May 5 at 7 p.m. to graduates of SXU’s Graham School of Management (GSM); Marilyn Keough Dean of the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame R. Scott Appleby, Ph.D., will also receive an honorary degree and deliver the Commencement address on Saturday, May 6 at 10 a.m. to graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS); and for the afternoon ceremony, award-winning Chicago Sun-Times Urban Affairs Reporter and Columnist Maudlyne Ihejirika will deliver the Commencement address on Saturday, May 6 at 3 p.m. to the graduates of the School of Education (SOE) and the School of Nursing (SON).

The Commencement ceremonies will be held in the Shannon Center at the University’s Chicago campus, located at 3700 W. 103rd St.

With nearly 30 years of experience in newspaper journalism, public relations and government, Ihejirika currently pens the Sun-Times’ “Chicago Chronicles” column, long-form stories on “people and places that make Chicago tick,” with particular focus on African-American and Hispanic communities. A Sun-Times staffer for 24 years, she has served as assistant city editor and covered beats from crime and inner city to housing and education, politics and philanthropy. Ihejirika left the Sun-Times in 1997 to serve as Gov. Jim Edgar’s press secretary for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services; and in 1999, she left the state government to launch the Ihejirika Media & Communications Group. Her niche public relations firm managed the successful re-election campaign of U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush in 2000 when he was challenged by a then little-known politician by the name of Barack Obama. It would be the only race the former President Obama would lose on his upward trajectory to the U.S. presidency. After returning to the Sun-Times in 2003, Ihejirika was honored with numerous awards, including the 2016 Chicago Defender Women of Excellence Award, the prestigious 2015 Studs Terkel Award and the 2015 National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Salute to Excellence Award for best newspaper series nationally.

Dr. Woo previously served as president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States from 2012 to 2016. Representing CRS, she was featured in the May/June 2013 issue of Foreign Policy as one of the 500 most powerful people on the planet and one of only 33 in the category of “a force for good.” Before CRS, Dr. Woo served from 1997 to 2011 as dean of the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. During her tenure, the Mendoza College was frequently recognized as the nation’s leading business school in ethics education and research. She was the first female dean to chair the accreditation body for business schools – the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) – and directed its Peace Through Commerce initiative. Dr. Woo was born and raised in Hong Kong and immigrated to the United States to attend Purdue University, where she received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees and joined the faculty.

In addition to serving as Marilyn Keough dean, Dr. Appleby is also a professor of history and directs Contending Modernities, a major multi-year project to examine the interaction among Catholic, Muslim and secular forces in the modern world. He is a scholar of global religion and has been a member of Notre Dame’s faculty since 1994. Dr. Appleby co-chaired the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Task Force on Religion and the Making of U.S. Foreign Policy, which released the influential report, “Engaging Religious Communities Abroad: A New Imperative for U.S. Foreign Policy.” From 2000 to 2014, he served as the Regan director of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

Dr. Appleby graduated from Notre Dame in 1978 and received his master’s and doctorate degrees in history from the University of Chicago.

This event is open to students and their families only. For more information about SXU’s 2017 Commencement ceremonies, visit,

Recent News

Scroll to Top