AVE MARIA, Fla. (March 6, 2019) — Ave Maria University announced today that eight-term Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-Illinois) will be its commencement speaker at this year’s graduation exercises. The University also announced that it will confer an honorary degree on Dr. Lou Argenta, professor and chairman emeritus, department of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, in recognition of his exemplary life as professor, craniofacial surgeon, inventor, and Catholic layman.
Congressman Lipinski represents constituents of the southwest side of Chicago, southwestern Cook County, and portions of northeastern Will County. One of just a dozen trained engineers in Congress, Lipinski holds degrees from Northwestern University, Stanford, and Duke University (a Ph.D. in political science from the latter). He also had short stints as a professor at the University of Notre Dame and the University of Tennessee.
“The Class of 2019 will appreciate as their commencement speaker a man with the strength of his convictions who fearlessly lives out his Catholic faith in the public square,” AMU President Jim Towey said. “Congressman Lipinski’s voting record on life, religious liberties, and other issues reflects often lonely, always principled, positions, and we are thrilled to have him and his wife Judy on our campus this May.”
Dr. Argenta is internationally renowned as a craniofacial surgeon, as well as for pioneering techniques in the treatment of wounds and burns that have helped millions all over the world. Dr. Argenta has been an Ave Maria University trustee since 2015 and chairs the Board’s Academic Affairs Committee. He and his wife Ginger have eight children, including daughters Sara (Class of 2015) and Claire (Class of 2019).
“Congressman Lipinski and Dr. Argenta see their vocations in politics and medicine, respectively, as opportunities to put their faith into practice and serve the Church,” Towey said. “These gentlemen are wonderfully aligned with Ave Maria’s identity and mission, and demonstrate the power of the Catholic lay vocation in striving to improve the lives of others and make the world a better place through their courageous witness.”
Ave Maria University’s commencement takes place on May 4, 2019 at 10AM in the Tom Golisano Field House. Approximately 250 men and women are expected to receive diplomas at this year’s ceremony. These exercises will be the institution’s 15th graduation overall and 12th on its permanent campus. Recent commencement speakers have included U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos; former Florida Governor Jeb Bush; Carlyle Group Co-founder, Dan D’Aniello; U.S. Senator Rick Scott; Librarian of Congress Dr. James Billington; President of the American Enterprise Institute, Dr. Arthur Brooks; and His Eminence Sean Cardinal O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston and AMU trustee.