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December 5, 2008


The Archdiocese of Philadelphia will honor six remarkable Catholic school graduates with 2008 Distinguished Graduate Awards for their life-long professional and personal accomplishments. Also known as the Archdiocesan Hall of Fame, the Distinguished Graduate Awards have a grand tradition of honoring Catholic school alumni who have not only achieved professional success in their chosen field, but also have demonstrated a commitment to living their lives by the Gospel Values that guide and define Catholic education in the Archdiocese. The awards will be bestowed as part of the 2009 Catholic Schools Week celebration.

"Our Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia have graduated thousands of academically, artistically, and spiritually gifted students," said Most Reverend Joseph P. McFadden, Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia. "The Distinguished Graduate Award allows us to recognize some of those graduates who, by their outstanding contribution, achievements, and continuing commitment to a Catholic life, have inspired an appreciation for the values of the Catholic school tradition."

To purchase tickets for the 2009 Distinguished Graduate Awards, please visit

Friday, January 30, 2009 at 6 p.m.
The Crystal Tea Room - Wanamaker Building
Broad and Juniper Streets
Philadelphia, PA

The six honorees being inducted into the Archdiocesan Hall of Fame exemplify the Promise Fulfilled by Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia:

Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S.J. - Professor Emeritus, Department of Biblical Studies, Catholic University of America
St. Hugh of Cluny Parish School - 1934; St. Joseph's Preparatory School - 1938

Rev. Joseph Augustine Fitzmyer is a Jesuit priest who has devoted his life to studying and teaching sacred Scripture. Currently teaching at Georgetown University, Fitzmyer is also a Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at the Catholic University of America. In addition to his teaching contributions, Fitzmyer has served as editor for numerous Biblical journals and publications, and has authored dozens of books on scripture, theology, and Christology, among other topics.

"I have come to realize the importance of my Catholic education," said Fr. Fitzmyer. "I owe a debt to the teachers at St. Hugh's and St. Joseph's who taught me so much. I have spent most of my life studying and teaching -- and the Catholic education that I received enabled me eventually to do that."

Dennis M. O'Brien - Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Our Lady of Calvary Parish School - 1966; Archbishop Ryan High School - 1970

A lifetime resident of Philadelphia, Dennis M. O'Brien is the current Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Since 1976, O'Brien has been an advocate for the residents of Philadelphia's 169th Legislative District. Over the years, he has prioritized health care, educational choice, veterans' rights, economic development initiatives, early intervention and the maintenance of nursing services. He has also worked fervently as an advocate for autism spectrum disorders and serves on several boards and caucuses committed to autism.

"My Catholic school education set the foundation for my approach in life and in my profession from a values-driven perspective," said O'Brien. "Catholic education stresses the importance of the well-rounded person within the context of the Gospel message of caring for others."

Mary Lou Quinlan -Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Just Ask a Woman
St. Helena Parish School, Philadelphia - 1967; Cardinal Dougherty High School - 1971

Mary Lou Quinlan, named "the Oprah of Madison Avenue" by The Wall Street Journal, is a leading marketer and the founder of Just Ask a Woman, one of the country's leading strategic marketing consultancies focusing on marketing to women. Quinlan started her business in 1999 after building a 25-year career with companies such as Avon, DDB Needham Worldwide and N.W. Ayer. She has authored several books, including the best-seller "Just Ask a Woman: Cracking the Code of What Women Want and How They Buy."

Although she is the talk of Madison Avenue, the streets of Philadelphia are where Quinlan got her start. A graduate of St. Helena's Parish School, Cardinal Dougherty High School, and Saint Joseph's University, Quinlan says that "every role that I play in my life is influenced by my Catholic education."

Ellen Hanway & H. Edward Hanway, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, CIGNA Corporation
Ellen M. Hanway: Nativity B.V.M. Parish School, Media - 1965; Notre Dame High School, Moylan - 1969
H. Edward Hanway: Nativity B.V.M. Parish School, Media - 1966; Cardinal O'Hara High School - 1970

This year, the Office of Catholic Education will recognize a couple whose contributions to the Catholic community makes them true Distinguished Graduates.

Ellen M. Hanway embodies the principles and values of a Catholic education. Hanway attended Nativity B.V.M. Parish School and Notre Dame High School before graduating from the Keystone School of Business in 1971. An ardent supporter of Catholic education, Hanway is a past Board member of the St. Francis de Sales Lenni Parish Council and Home and School Association. She is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of Drexel Neumann Academy.

H. Edward Hanway is the current chairman and chief executive officer of CIGNA Corporation, and is recognized as a national leader in the effort to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of health care in the United States. Hanway, who attended Nativity B.V.M. Parish School and Cardinal O'Hara High School, says his Catholic education provided him with the educational foundation to succeed in his career. "It instilled in me a respect for myself and for others, as well as the responsibility to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate than myself," said Hanway.

Sergeant Patrick McDonald - Philadelphia Police Officer (posthumously)
Christ the King Parish School - 1992; Archbishop Ryan High School - 1996

Patrick McDonald, a Sergeant beloved by his colleagues as a loyal servant of the Philadelphia Police Department, is being honored posthumously.

A proud product of Catholic schools, he graduated from Christ the King Parish School, Archbishop Ryan High School and St. Joseph's University. With a degree in Criminal Justice, Sergeant McDonald joined the Philadelphia Police Department in January 2000 and took tremendous pride in serving the people of Philadelphia. A well-decorated officer, Sergeant McDonald received many honors in his brief career, including Commendatory Citation (July 2000), Commendation for Merit (January and August 2006), Commendatory Citation (September 2006) and the Commendation for Valor (September 2008).

Sergeant McDonald was fatally shot in the line of duty on September 23, 2008 at the age of 30. In celebrating him as a Distinguished Graduate, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia humbly recognizes-and honors-all those graduates who dedicate their lives to making the Philadelphia area a better and safe place to live, work and pray.


Meredith Wilson
Communications Specialist

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