May. 4, 2022

AUSTIN, Texas  — St. Edward’s University will celebrate its senior class of undergraduates and professionals completing numerous graduate programs, bestow honors on two former St. Edward’s presidents and host an esteemed alumna as this year’s keynote speaker at two commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 7.

Graduates from the Class of 2022 include recipients of the highly prestigious Fulbright, Gilman and McNair Scholars awards as well as numerous other fellowships. This year, St. Edward’s recognized 12 outstanding graduating seniors with its Presidential Award, which is given to students who have demonstrated excellence in leadership, academic performance and service.

“It has been an honor to hear students talk about their transformational stories and journeys at St. Edward’s. I enthusiastically look forward to shaking the hands of the students walking across the stage to receive their diploma on May 7, “ said St. Edward’s President Montserrat Fuentes.

This year’s commencement speaker will be Dr. Mona Hicks ’93, the dean of students at Stanford University. Hicks credits St. Edward’s with providing a faith-based and community-focused education.

Hicks held high-level administrative jobs at Rice University, Vanderbilt University (where she also earned a doctorate in higher education, leadership and policy), the University of North Texas and St. Louis University before joining Stanford in January 2020 as the senior associate vice provost and dean of students.

St. Edward’s will recognize two former presidents — Dr. Patricia Hayes and Dr. George E. Martin —  with  honorary doctoral degrees.

Hayes led the university from 1984 to 1998 and was the second layperson and the first woman to hold the role. During her 14 years of leadership, she strengthened the university financially and academically and built creative, strategic partnerships with Austin institutions. She oversaw the much-needed renovation of the Main Building, restoring it as a South Austin landmark. During her tenure, the university built the Recreation and Convocation Center and the campus apartments; renovated numerous buildings; and completed the Ragsdale Center and Plaza.

After St. Edward’s, Hayes became senior vice president for community development at the Seton Healthcare Network, now known as Ascension Health. During this time and through her subsequent Seton roles as chief operating officer and interim CEO, she co-led the Indigent Care Collaboration, a united effort of a dozen community healthcare providers to improve service to the poor, and she played a key role in the effort to secure healthcare financing for the poor in Travis County.

In recognition of her university leadership, community service and embodiment of the Holy Cross mission, St. Edward’s University will proclaim Patricia Hayes Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

Martin was president of St. Edward’s University from 1999 to 2021. During his more than two decades of leadership, he guided the university through the burst of the dot-com bubble in the early 2000s, the Great Recession of 2008, and the first year and a half of the Covid-19 pandemic. He doubled full-time undergraduate enrollment, transformed the physical campus, ushered in a new era of academic excellence and launched the Holy Cross Institute. His legacy is a nationally recognized university that dramatically expanded the opportunities it offered students while staying firmly grounded in its Holy Cross mission.

Martin led the university to greater excellence by investing in the Office of Fellowships and stipends to support high-achieving students’ independent research. During his years

as president, the first Fulbright Student award winner from St. Edward’s was named. By 2021, St. Edward’s had produced 77 Fulbright Student scholars and 75 winners of Gilman Scholarships, which make it possible for low-income, Pell Grant recipients to study abroad. On October 27, 2021, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs acknowledged these achievements with two awards: it named St. Edward’s one of only 35 Fulbright Hispanic-Serving Institution Leaders nationwide and a Top Producer in the 20-year history of the Gilman Scholarship program.

When Martin came to St. Edward’s, he set a goal for the university to be recognized as one of the country’s best small universities by its 125th anniversary in 2010. Seven years ahead of that date, U.S. News & World Report named St. Edward’s one of America’s Best Colleges. The university has been recognized as a top-25 regional university in the Western Region for 19 years in a row and a top-10 regional university in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Martin now holds the title of president emeritus and occupies the endowed Dr. George E. Martin Chair of Leadership. Martin will be honored for his more than 20 years of forward-thinking leadership at St. Edward’s.

In recognition of his ambitious vision, dedication to excellence and faithfulness to the Holy Cross mission, St. Edward’s University will proclaim George E. Martin Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

St. Edward’s May 7 Commencement Morning and Afternoon Ceremonies will be as follows:

Ceremony for all graduates (Undergraduate and Graduate degree recipients) from the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences and the School of Natural Sciences.

  • Time: 10 a.m.
  • Location: H-E-B Center at Cedar Park

Ceremony for all graduates (Undergraduate and Graduate degree recipients) from the School of Arts and Humanities and The Bill Munday School of Business.

  • Time: 3 p.m.
  • Location: H-E-B Center at Cedar Park