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CCUSA leader to speak at UP graduation

Posted by | Catholic Charities Communications

In addition, former head of the church’s social service arm will receive the university’s highest degree

The University of Portland class of 2024 will hear from the leader of Catholic Charities USA May 5 during commencement.

In August 2023, Kerry Alys Robinson began her service as president and CEO of the network of 168 agencies that serve people, families and communities in need while advocating for justice in social structures. Catholic Charities of Oregon, founded in 1933, is a proud part of the network.

Kerry Alys Robinson

Prior to joining CCUSA, Robinson was the founding executive director of Leadership Roundtable, which is dedicated to promoting excellence in management, finances and human resource development of the Catholic Church. She previously served as executive director of the Opus Prize Foundation and as director of development for Saint Thomas More Catholic Chapel and Center at Yale University.

Robinson authored the prize-winning book, Imagining Abundance: Fundraising, Philanthropy, and A Spiritual Call to Service.

The University’s highest honor, the Christus Magister Medal, will be given to Dominican Sister Donna Markham, who preceded Robinson as President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA.

Sister Donna Markham

Sister Donna retired as president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA in July 2023. She was the first woman to lead the network, and for more than four decades was engaged in tireless work to reduce poverty and provide care for the most vulnerable in society. A board-certified clinical psychologist, Sister Donna’s previous leadership roles include serving as president of the Behavioral Health Institute of Mercy Health in Cincinnati, President and CEO for Southdown Institute in Ontario, Canada, and Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Congregation.

“Here on The Bluff, we have embraced anew our calling to be the University of, for and with Portland and the wider world,” said Robert D. Kelly, president of the University of Portland. “Our 2024 commencement honorees have evinced lives of unparalleled service and transformational impact. I am thrilled that our graduates, their families and our entire UP community will have the chance to celebrate these extraordinary individuals.”

The undergraduate commencement ceremony is set for Sunday, May 5, 10 a.m. at the university’s sports dome, the Chiles Center. A Baccalaureate Mass is set for Saturday, May 4, 4:30 p.m. at Chiles Center.