Saint Joseph's College graduates 380 students on Saturday

Members of the Class of 2004, at 380 students strong, will each step forward to accept a hand-signed diploma as their name is called at the Saint Joseph's College graduation ceremony in Standish on Saturday, May 8. Graduates at the 10 a.m. commencement in the Alfond Center overlooking Sebago Lake will include 61 distance education students who were able to attend from as far away as Fremont, Calif.

Class valedictorian Laura Wells, a communications major from Somerville, Mass., will address the graduates, as will Dale Mueller Malik, an outstanding distance education student from Upland, Calif.

Bishop Richard Joseph Malone, the newly appointed bishop of the Diocese of Portland, will deliver the commencement address. Born and raised in Massachusetts, Bishop Malone graduated from St. John's Seminary in Boston with a bachelor's degree in both Philosophy and Divinity, and then earned a master's degree in Theology there as well. In 1981, he earned a Doctorate in Theology (Th.D.) at Boston University, and, in 1990, a Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) at Weston Jesuit School of Theology.

Ordained in 1972, Bishop Malone served as associate pastor at St. Patrick Parish in Stoneham, Mass., and later joined the faculty of two Catholic high schools in the Boston area.

Appointed to the faculty at St. John's Seminary in 1979, Bishop Malone taught religious and theological studies and served as registrar and academic dean. During those same years, he was a part-time chaplain at Wellesley and Regis colleges and taught at Emmanuel College. In 1990, the Bishop was assigned to the Harvard-Radcliffe Catholic Student Center as chaplain at St. Paul Parish.

Bishop Malone became Director of the Office of Religious Education for the Archdiocese of Boston in 1993; two years later he was named Secretary for Education. In March of 2000, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Boston, South Region. He has produced and hosted television programs for Boston Catholic Television; has been the archdiocesan liaison with the local Jewish community; and has lectured nationally on Catholic education.

At commencement, Saint Joseph's College will award honorary degrees to Larry Mahaney of Bangor and Dr. Loring Hart of Yarmouth.

Mahaney, chairman of Webber Energy Fuels and generous donor to college baseball programs throughout Maine, is a former athlete, coach and teacher who transformed Webber Oil, a Maine family business, into one of the top 20 privately owned corporations in New England.

A native of Fort Fairfield, he graduated with a degree in economics from the University of Maine, where he was captain of the basketball team. After serving in the U.S. Air Force and earning a Master in Education Administration at UMaine, he served as a successful football coach at Brewer High School from 1955 to 1962, where he spawned nine players who went on to coaching careers in Maine and other states.

Webber Energy has provided more than $1 million for scholarships and programs for Maine's young people, and it has underwritten a nationally recognized study on the aspirations of Maine students. Mahaney has donated generously to Saint Joseph's College for academics and athletics, funding the Webber Energy Fuels Seminar Room in a new academic building and major improvements to the Larry Mahaney Diamond baseball field.

Dr. Loring Edward Hart, another recipient of an honorary degree, is a distinguished scholar, educator and administrator.

Born in Bath, Maine, Dr. Hart was valedictorian of his 1942 high school class. He served in World War II in General Patton's Third Army, participating in the relief of the 101 st Airborne and the seizure of the first Nazi concentration camp. His courage was recognized with several honors, including the Bronze Star.

Dr. Hart graduated from Bowdoin College magna cum laude in 1948. He obtained a Ph.D. from Harvard, where he was a teaching fellow for two years. After teaching at the University of Kentucky, he went on to Norwich University of Vermont in 1957.

During his 25-year tenure at Norwich, he climbed the ranks from assistant professor of English, to dean of faculty, to vice president, culminating in 10 years as president from 1972 to 1982.

After returning to Maine in 1983 to lead the capital campaign at Bowdoin College , Dr. Hart was appointed interim president at Saint Joseph's College in 1987, and then president, a position he held until 1995. In a bold move, he consolidated offsite distance education operations onto our campus, thereby setting the stage for a program that today has earned national recognition.

Dr. Hart also initiated important relationships with national foundations that continue to support Saint Joseph's College. His leadership style and sound sense of moral values made a significant impact on the College's community, and he formed an enduring relationship with the Sisters of Mercy and their mission.

With his wife, he has served as a Hospice volunteer and is active in comprehensive town planning in Phippsburg, Maine. Dr. Hart is an avid proponent of the close, individual attention that private colleges offer.

In addition to its traditional undergraduates, Saint Joseph's will graduate 199 distance education students from all over the country and one student from Japan. Sixty-one of these adult learners will be on hand to receive their degree in person at the campus commencement.

May 6, 2004 Contact: Charmaine Daniels at (207) 893-7723 or e-mail cdaniels@sjcme.edu