By Kevin Rogers
St. Bonaventure University announced Dr. Charles J. Dougherty, ’71, president of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, will present the keynote address during the university’s 152nd annual Commencement Exercises May 13.
“I was delighted and humbled,” Dougherty, a nationally recognized expert in health care ethics, said of his selection. “I said yes immediately.”
According to an April 23 university press release, Dougherty will receive an honorary degree in addition to giving the keynote address. The university will also present Sister Mary Jean Ryan, F.S.M., chair of SSM Health Care in St. Louis, and John R. McGinley Jr., outgoing chair of St. Bonaventure’s Board of Trustees, with honorary degrees.
Dougherty has written five books on ethics and health care and has published more than 50 scholarly articles published, according to the press release. The Duquesne board of directors elected him university president in May 2001.
“Given St. Bonaventure University’s distinction in preparing students for medical school through our Franciscan Health Care program, it is fitting that we honor three individuals who have made such significant contributions to our nation’s Catholic health care systems,” Sister Margaret Carney, O.S.F., university president, said in the press release.
Despite his expertise in health care, Dougherty said his message will be meaningful to all graduating seniors.
“I’ll use the opportunity to reflect on the value of a Bonaventure education,” he said. “I graduated 40 years ago, and some of it will be what my education has meant to me.”
Dougherty said he maintains a friendship with Sister Margaret and keeps up with the alumni community. He said he has been to a number of St. Bonaventure basketball games.
“Dr. Dougherty is an outstanding leader in Catholic higher education,” Sister Margaret wrote in an e-mail. “He was president of the student government of this university as an undergrad and was a leader during very turbulent times on the campus. He carried those experiences into his life and is now, himself, shaping a university in the 21st century. That is why he was invited – he deserves recognition from his alma mater for his work.”
Dougherty said he hopes the graduating students remember what they learned at St. Bonaventure and put it to good use.
“My key message is that they have been shaped in a very special way by a very special place,” he said.