University Of Holy Cross Honors Graduates, Cokie Roberts Commencement Speaker

Cokie Roberts, commencement speaker for UHC

NEW ORLEANS — University of Holy Cross (formerly Our Lady of Holy Cross College) conferred degrees at its 75th Commencement Sunday, May 21, at Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts in New Orleans.

         More than 200 graduates were presented with their diplomas. The class of 2017 was the first to wear official UHC graduation regalia.



         Cokie Roberts was the commencement speaker for UHC this year. She was also presented a degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa by UHC at the commencement ceremonies.

         Roberts is a political commentator for ABC News and NPR. In her more than 40 years in broadcasting, she has won multiple awards including three Emmys. She has been inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame, and was cited by the American Women in Radio and Television as one of the 50 greatest women in the history of broadcasting. In addition to her reporting, Roberts has written six New York Times bestsellers, most dealing with the roles of women in U.S. history.

         In addition to her appearances on the airwaves, Roberts, along with her husband, Steven V. Roberts, writes a weekly column syndicated in newspapers around the country by Universal U Click. The Roberts also wrote two books together: “Our Haggadah: Uniting Traditions for Interfaith Families,” published in 2011 and “From this Day Forward,” an account of their now almost 50-year marriage and other marriages in American history. The book immediately went onto The New York Times bestseller list, following Cokie Roberts’s number one bestseller, “We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters,” an account of American women’s roles and relationships over time.

         Roberts’ other history books recounting the untold and remarkable contributions of women to the country’s founding and its preservation: “Founding Mothers,” published in 2004, “Ladies of Liberty” in 2008, and “Capital Dames” in 2015, about women and Washington in the Civil War—all also rated as New York Times bestsellers, along with her children’s book “Founding Mothers,” illustrated by Caldecott award winner Diane Goode.  The children’s version of “Ladies of Liberty,” also illustrated by Goode, was published in December 2016.

         Roberts holds more than 25 honorary degrees and serves on the boards of several nonprofit institutions. President Bush appointed her to his Commission on Service and Civic Participation. In 2008 the Library of Congress named her a “Living Legend,” one of the very few Americans to have attained that honor. She is the mother of two and grandmother of six.

         Roberts’ mother, Lindy Boggs, the former congresswoman and United States ambassador to the Vatican, was presented a degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa by UHC.



         UHC presented its highest honor, the Spes Unica, to Mrs. Phyllis M. Taylor at this year’s commencement.

         The motto of the Congregation of Holy Cross, Spes Unica (One Hope), refers to the fact that the cross is our one hope. Spes Unica refers to the unity to be found in the Family of Holy Cross, and to this end, the founder, Father Basil Anthony Moreau, consecrated and dedicated the priests to the heart of Jesus, the brothers to the heart of St. Joseph, and the Marianites to the heart of Mary pierced with a sword of sorrow.

         Hope has a dual reference: to the Holy Cross on which Jesus died, and to the section of a town in France known as Sainte Croix, Holy Cross. Hence the religious were referred to as Priests, Brothers and Marianite Sisters of Holy Cross.

         Mrs. Taylor is Chairman of Endeavor Enterprises L.L.C., a management company to oversee the various Taylor operations. She is also Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Taylor Energy Company since the death of her husband, Patrick F. Taylor, in November 2004. A graduate of Tulane University School of Law, Mrs. Taylor served as law clerk for the Supreme Court of Louisiana and Orleans Parish Civil District Court. Her career in the oil industry began in 1972, when she became in-house counsel for John W. Mecom, Sr. Honored for her activism and philanthropy, Mrs. Taylor serves on numerous civic and charitable boards and has led many community initiatives.


UHC AWARDS 19 Doctorate Graduates

         UHC awarded 19 doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees at this year’s graduation ceremony. UHC began offering the PhD degree in fall of 2013 and conferred its first doctorate degree in 2015.



         UHC recognized a number of honor graduates at this year’s commencement ceremonies:

Summa Cum Laude Award – “With Greatest Praise” is awarded for cumulative grade point average of at least 3.90

Angie Marie Arnold

Schlise Steib Borne


Magna Cum Laude Award – “With Great Praise” is awarded for cumulative grade point average of at least 3.80

Aubrey Lynn Evola

Douglas G. Lopata


Cum Laude Award – “With Praise” is awarded for cumulative grade point average of at least 3.70

Jumana Osama Al-Bassisi

Nicholas Scullin

Eric Wolfarth



         Those who participated in this year’s UHC commencement ceremony included:


Counselor Education and Supervision:

Yevonne Marie Baran

Geoffrey Frederick Brazda

Donald Robert Casares, Jr.

Dymphna D. Davis

Stephanie Maria Ducros

Karen Taylor duPlantier

Joseph Clifford Dyson, Sr.

Marnie Neyhart Genre

Travis Johnson, Sr.

Gilbert Lerma, Jr.

Dedra N. Louis

Ashley Bailey Ojo

Tara VaLecia Payne

Kevin Ann Planchet

Dustin Herbert Reed

Mario A. Sacasa

Mariama Izama Cook Sandifer

Donald Etienne Songy

Andrew Mark Watley



Clinical Mental Health Counseling:

Alexander Thomas Becnel

Jamie Marie Gaskin

Carissa Ann Marie Guidry

Haleigh Ann Hesni

Deonquel Keiasha Joseph

Brittany R. Leche

Heidi Leydecker

Kristen Ellen Mallory

Amy Elizabeth Noto

Taylor Frances Ovella

Nicholas Andrew Papale

Latoya N. Polius

Princess-India Philicie Powell

Robynn Tiffany Racherbaumer

William Sandino

Alexandra Sierra

Bonnie Veith Stephany

Ashley Stevens

Omolola Ashley Iyabode Taiwo

Richard L. Twiggs, Jr.

Christopher James Whittington


Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling

Shanon Briner Shaw


Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling

Madelynn Sallinger Fellon


Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling:

Tahreer N. Ahmad

Amy L. Bakke

Taylor Elizabeth Bonnette

Carol Ann Harvey

Tomeka Bennett Jackson

Hollie Nicole Ledet

Latoria Monique Marchand

Amanda Monroe


School Counseling:

Shautera Clofer

Jennifer Lynn Dragobratovich

Nathan Favaloro

Kimberly Ragas-Matalamaki

Raquel Irene Short

Donneisha Wilson



Educational Leadership:

Lidia F. Betancourt

Ruth Maginnis Blum

Catherine Canter

Denise Merwin Cooper

Roy. H. Delaney, Sr.

Kristin Heath Guidry

LaCresha Haten

Charlotte L. Hoppe

Thomas Edward Huck

Jennifer Blood Johns

Peggy M. Johns

Stephanie Johnson

Janie Bernard Leingang

Tiffany Lynn Loup

Alvin Charles Mahler, III

Meehan Suffern Murphy

Janine A. Murry

Richard Scott Neider

Erin Parquet

Wilmer A. Rivas

Linda Cajina Sanchez

Charlotte Heap Shelley

Joshua Landon Vidrine

Kaitlin Piper Vidrine

Jonathan Paul Vitale

Brandon Derrick Walters


Teaching and Learning:

Leah Luton Hickerson

Senovia "Sandy" Robinson

Maya Bates Scheuermann

Ashley René West



Liberal Art:

John J. Butkovich

Anh Tuan Chau Phan


Social Science:

Schlise Steib Borne

Christina Louise Jolicoeur



Matthew Simon Picard




Chastity Marie Alexander

Ronald Edward Luman, Jr.

Brandon J. Monju

Xuan Thu Nguyen



Norwood James Borne, Jr.

Shinell Burrell Craige

Nicole Marie Defourneaux

Vahnora Cameron Ponson

Tiffany Tran

Kim Vo


Business Administration:

Sheri Heindel Almanza

Amanda Lynn Bell

Paul Joseph LeBlanc

Lindsey Grace Marcel

Katherine T. Schloegel

Rodney P. Schouest, Jr.

Jairus Boudoin, Sr.


Elementary Education:

Jumana Osama Al-Bassisi

Angie Marie Arnold

Bailey Bartholomew

Aubrey Lynn Evola

Alexandra Eugenia Galleguillos

Amanda Elizabeth Moreau


General Studies:

LaJonet Marie Forrest

Jared Paul Rodrigue

Chantelle Lynn Simoneaux

Jacob Vincent Vidrine


Health Sciences:

Hanna Fadi Abuali

Echell B. Alexander

Jennifer O. Amaya

Megan Elizabeth Eiserloh

Chelsey Elmer

Veronica Isabel Gutierrez

Mia Marie Hock

Kyra Nicole Isidore

Tyana Monet Jackson

Layne Marie Jenniskens

Thuy Duong Thi Le

Mallory Marie Marquette

Melanie Ann Monfrey

Amanda Resendez


Neurodiagnostic Technology:

Ashley Jean Andrews

Lauren Rose Laurent

Cody Huy Nguyen

Lauren Morvant Perrin

Katelyn Renée Sannasardo

Mason Daniel Spong

Colleen Oanh Tran

Christopher Quoc Phong Tran

Thomas Ray Walker, Jr.



Devin Thomas Austin

Karley Vargas Babin

Amber Layne Bladsacker

Kellie Lynn Bruhl

Nicole Michelle Carbon

Danielle Melissa DeJean

Suzette C. Entwisle

Megan Elizabeth Gaines

Alexandria Colby Garrett

Maggie Robin Gatlin

Jared Gros

Jamie Alissa Harrell

Kasey Lynn Jenkins

Stacy J. Laing

Rebecca Richards Lambert

Kaelynn Elizabeth Landeche

Andree Larroquette

Sydney Marie Lassere

Paul Bullard Lastrapes III

Jody Ann Linker

Leah Jasmine Louisville

Emmy Marlen Martinez

Stephanie Navarro

Linda Lan Nguyen

Joleen Mae Parker

RJ Espesor Pedroso

Camrynn Dodge Plaisance

Catherine Breland Rittiner

Aimee Marie Scioneaux

Nicholas Scullin

Megan Annette Serpas

Deshona Maria Solomon

Brandie Vortisch Thompson

Anjelle Tiliakos

Brian Huy Tran

Whitney Marie Troxclair

Angelica Walton Wilson

Michelle Marie Wilson

Taylor Jordan Wood



Jamal Travis Boudion

Ashley Marie Caldarera

Katherine Gypsea Green-Valeu

Nelby Gisselle Hopkins

Angelle Rebecca McLaughlin

Ariana Ridings

Marie McLaughlin Streckfus

Angellec Breion Walker


Radiologic Technology:

Diana Lucero

Elizabeth Marie Perrin

Michael Alexander Turlich

Eric Wolfarth


Social Counseling:

Rachel Elaine Gueho

Douglas G. Lopata

Mallary Catherine Matherne

Bonnie Veith Stephany



Liberal Arts:

Schlise Steib Borne

Christina Louise Jolicoeur




Kraig A. Morales

Tyralyn A. Simmons


Neurodiagnostic Technology:

Brittany Elizabeth Bane


Radiologic Technology:

Karlie Anne Bernard

Ashley Hoang

Brittany Ann Murr


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