Current Section


Bookmark and Share

Main Content

Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo Announced as Commencement Speaker

April 03, 2017

Communications and Marketing
(603) 641-7240

Dr. Carolyn Y. WooDr. Steven R. DiSalvo, president of Saint Anselm College has announced that Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo, former president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Catholic Relief Serviceswill address the class of 2017 as the college's commencement speaker.

The ceremony, on Saturday, May 20 will begin at 2 p.m. on the lawn in front of Alumni Hall. Saint Anselm College will bestow three honorary degrees during the commencement exercises:

  • Most Reverend Robert Barron, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries,
  • Sister Thomas Welder, O.S.B., president emerita, mission advancement, University of Mary, Bismarck, North Dakota,
  • Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo., former president and Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Relief Services.

"Dr. Woo's work with Catholic Relief Services will resonate with our graduates as they enter a world that needs more Anselmians," said Dr. DiSalvo. "Each of these exemplary individuals have made the world a better place, through their faith and service to the Church, and the common good."

Visit Saint Anselm Commencement »

Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo
From 2012 to 2016, Dr. Woo served as President & CEO of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States.

Before coming to CRS, Carolyn 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. It received and has retained top ranking from Bloomberg Businessweek since 2010 for its undergraduate business program. Prior to the University of Notre Dame, Carolyn served as associate executive vice president for academic affairs at Purdue University.

Carolyn 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. Her teaching, research, and administrative leadership have been recognized through Best Paper Awards by the Academy of Management, selection as one of 40 Young Leaders of American Academe by Change Magazine, the journal of the American Association for Higher Education; distinguished alumna and honorary alumna by Purdue University and University of Notre Dame, as well as the conferral of honorary doctorates from Providence College, Loyola University of Maryland, Manhattan College, Wake Forest University, the University of Notre Dame, and others.

Carolyn was the first female dean to chair the accreditation body for business schools — AACSB: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business — and directed its Peace Through Commerce initiative. She helped launch the Principles for Responsible Management Education for the United Nations Global Compact.

From 2004 to 2010, Carolyn served on the Board of Directors of CRS. Her current board service includes Aileron Foundation; Catholic University of America; Archdiocese of Baltimore Independent Child Abuse Review Board; Migration & Refugee Services, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; and the International Policy Committee, United States of Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Carolyn was one of five presenters in Rome at the release of Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment in June 2015. Her faith journey and work at CRS are recounted in her book, Working for a Better World, published in 2015 by Our Sunday Visitor.

Representing CRS, Carolyn 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." Carolyn's Catholic News Service monthly column took first place in the 2013 Catholic Press Association Awards in the category of Best Regular Column-Spiritual Life.

Bishop Robert BarronBishop Robert Barron
Bishop Robert Barron is the founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries and the host of CATHOLICISM, a groundbreaking, award-winning documentary about the Catholic Faith. On September 8, 2015, he was ordained Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Bishop Barron is a #1 Amazon bestselling author and has published numerous books, essays, and articles on theology and the spiritual life. He has also appeared on several media outlets including NBC, PBS, FOX News, CNN, and EWTN.

Bishop Barron's website,, reaches millions of people each year. His regular YouTube videos have been viewed over 14 million times. He is one of the most-followed Catholics in the world on social media.

Bishop Barron's pioneering work in evangelizing through the new media led Francis Cardinal George to describe him as "one of the Church's best messengers." He has keynoted many conferences and events all over the world, and delivered the opening keynote talk at the World Meeting of Families (September 2015), marking Pope Francis' historic visit to the United States.

On July 21, 2015, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Barron to be Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He was ordained bishop on September 8, 2015. He previously served as the Rector/President of Mundelein Seminary University of St. Mary of the Lake from 2012 until 2015. He was appointed to the theological faculty of Mundelein Seminary in 1992, and has also served as a visiting professor at the University of Notre Dame and at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas. He was twice scholar in residence at the Pontifical North American College at the Vatican.

Ordained in 1986 in the Archdiocese of Chicago, Bishop Barron received a master's degree in philosophy from the Catholic University of America in 1982 and a doctorate in sacred theology from the Institut Catholique de Paris in 1992.

Sister Thomas Welder, O.S.B.Sister Thomas Welder, O.S.B.
Sister Thomas Welder, a native of Bismarck, N.D., and a member of the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery, has served the University of Mary as teacher and administrator since 1963. In 1978 she assumed her role as president. Retiring as president in 2009, she currently serves as president emerita in the area of mission advancement. She attended the College of St. Benedict, graduated from the College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, and earned a master's degree in music from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

Active in her monastic community and professional organizations, Sister Thomas serves as a director of CHI St. Alexius Health, a trustee of Missouri Slope Areawide United Way, and a board member of the Light of Christ Catholic Schools.

She received the Greater North Dakota Award in 2002, and was honored with the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award by Governor John Hoeven in 2004. She was inducted into the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame in 2007, received United Way's 2007 Lifetime of Caring Award and the 2013 Caritas Award from Catholic Charities North Dakota.

Sister Thomas is committed to fostering leadership development and sees lessons in servant leadership as relevant for today. The guide for the servant leader comes from the Gospel, specifically through the words of Jesus, "I came not to be served but to serve."

View Mobile Site