Awards honorary degrees to author, artist and CFO
DUBUQUE, Iowa— Loras College, a Catholic liberal arts college, held its 179th commencement Saturday and presented 317 undergraduate and 24 graduate degrees. Besides those 341 degrees, the College also presented honorary degrees to a pioneer in Catholic textbooks, a renowned artist, and a local businessman.
President Jim Collins, a 1984 graduate of Loras, acknowledged that each member of the Class of 2018 followed a different path to reach their educational milestone. Some followed in the footsteps of family members while others will be the first to graduate in their family.
Regardless, he urged graduates not to underestimate their achievement. Just one-third of all adults in the country, he said, have attained an undergraduate degree.
“You have been given all the tools, experiences, relationships, and encouragement to live a meaningful life,” Collins said. “Guided by the tenets of our Catholic and liberal arts mission, I implore you to practice your faith, see God in all things and people, find ways to nourish your souls, feed the souls of others, and look ways to serve those in need, those who are broken and those who are not loved.”
Brittney Cato, a 2013 graduate and associate attorney at a national law firm, delivered the keynote address. She graduated from Loras cum laude in English, literature and Spanish and then cum laude, from DePaul University College of Law with a juris doctorate in 2016.
As graduates of Loras, Cato said, comes the responsibility of service. As an example, for the ninth consecutive year, Loras College Dance Marathon is the top fundraising school per capita among more than 300 nationwide. In April, about 300 dancers raised $216,180 for the Children’s Miracle Network and the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. The student-led program has raised more than $1.8 million since it began 12 years ago.
“It’s incumbent upon you, Class of 2018, to be tolerant, understanding, compassionate, and ready to listen with open hearts,” she said. “I truly believe that living life that way is a form of service because it allows not only ourselves but the communities we live in to grow and develop in a way that is inclusive.”
During commencement, the College granted honorary degrees to Janaan Manternach, John Schmidt and John Swanson.
Manternach, together with her husband, Carl Pfeifer, wrote religious education textbooks and enhanced the catechist formation for four decades.
Manternach studied at Loras for two years before receiving a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a minor in history from Briar Cliff University in 1960. She later studied religious education at the graduate level at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
In 1968, Manternach and Pfeifer published the first of a series of textbooks for elementary students on Catholic education and catechism. Called “Life, Love, Joy,” the series represented a dramatic change in the way thousands of schoolchildren received religious education and learned about their faith.
Schmidt, of Dubuque and a Certified Public Accountant, earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Northern Iowa. He has served as CFO of AY McDonald Manufacturing, Dubuque, since 2013.
In 1984, he was hired by Dubuque Bank & Trust Company (DB&T). Over the years he led DB&T and Heartland Financial USA, Inc.(HTLF), as vice president of finance of DB&T, from 1986 to1991, senior vice president/CFO of DB&T and HTLF from 1991 to 1993, director/treasurer of DB&T from 1993 to 1996, president/CEO of DB&T from 1999 to 2004, vice chairman of the board of DB&T and HTLF in 2001, director/vice chairman of the board of Riverside Community Bank and Galena State Bank in 2004 and director/vice chairman of the board for First Community Bank from 2004 to 2007.
Schmidt remains a member of the HTLF Board of Directors.
Swanson’s heritage and commitment to Catholic Social Teachings have made him one of the great living artists of the century.
His art is a permanent collection in many museums, including three museums of the Smithsonian Institution. He is also included in the print collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, Harvard University’s Fogg Museum, the Tate Gallery and Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.
His painting, “The Procession,” is one of a few works installed in the Vatican Museums’ Collection of Modern Religious Art. Life Magazine featured Swanson’s painting “Entry Into The City” for the article “Who Was Jesus?”
ABOUT LORAS COLLEGE
Loras leverages its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s 10 diocesan institutions to deliver challenging, life-changing experiences as part of its residential, Catholic setting. Loras ranks among 450 NCAA Division III athletic programs in Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings, 11th out of the Top 100 baccalaureate colleges, according to the 2016 Washington Monthly College Rankings, 13th Best Regional College, according to Midwest U.S. News Best Colleges and is among the 200 Best-Loved Colleges in the nation, according to Forbes Magazine.