Franciscan University Prepares to Graduate the Class of 2020
Bishop Robert Barron and Sherry Weddell to Receive Honorary Degrees.
March 3, 2020

STEUBENVILLE, OHIO—Franciscan University of Steubenville will hold its 72nd commencement exercises May 8-9, 2020, with over 675 graduates expected from among its 75 academic programs.

Events begin Friday, May 8, at 6:00 p.m. with the Baccalaureate Mass followed by the Science Commencement on Saturday, May 9, at 9:00 a.m. and the Arts Commencement that same day at 1:00 p.m. All events take place in Finnegan Fieldhouse.

There is open admission to the Baccalaureate Mass. Tickets, which are distributed in advance to the graduates, are required for Saturday’s commencement ceremonies. TV screens will stream the ceremonies in the nearby J.C. Williams Center.

Bishop Robert Barron, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and an acclaimed author, speaker, and theologian, will preside at the Baccalaureate Mass and receive an honorary doctorate of catechetics and evangelization for his global media ministry that spreads the Gospel of Jesus Christ “using means both old and new.”

Bishop Barron is the founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, which draws millions of people into or back to the Catholic faith. His documentaries, Catholicism and Catholicism: The Pivotal Players, have aired on hundreds of PBS stations and have been used in parishes and schools worldwide. His website,, reaches millions of people each year, as do his podcasts, YouTube videos, and his social media presence on Facebook and Twitter.

Bishop Barron has been invited to speak about religion at the headquarters of Facebook, Google, and Amazon, and he has given keynote addresses at World Youth Day in Poland in 2016 and the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in 2015.

Sherry Weddell, the co-founder and executive director of the Catherine of Siena Institute and author of Forming Intentional Disciples, will deliver the commencement address at both the science and arts ceremonies. She will receive an honorary doctorate in catechetics and evangelization for her extraordinary dedication to evangelizing the Church and renewing our culture with a message of truth and hope.

The Catherine of Siena Institute trains Catholic leaders in 21st-century evangelization, forming them as missionary disciples at the parish and diocesan levels. Weddell and her network of collaborators have worked directly with 170,000 lay, religious, and ordained Catholics in over 1,000 parishes and 200 dioceses across North America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania. These pastoral leaders have, in turn, effectively helped parishioners to follow Jesus and discern their charisms and vocations as baptized Catholics.

This year’s top 10 home states for the Class of 2020 are Ohio, Pennsylvania, California, Virginia, New York, Michigan, Texas, Maryland, Illinois, and Florida. The Class of 2020’s top 10 majors are theology, nursing, education, psychology, history, catechetics, communication arts, biology, philosophy, and management.

Franciscan University President Father Dave Pivonka, TOR, a graduate of the Class of 1989, will preside at both ceremonies along with members of the Board of Trustees and Board of Advisors.

For those unable to attend, ceremonies will be streamed online, here.

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