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December 9, 2009


The Archdiocese of Philadelphia will honor five remarkable Catholic school graduates for their professional and personal accomplishments, when they are each granted a 2010 Distinguished Graduate Award during Catholic Schools week celebration. 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 fields, but also have demonstrated a commitment to living their lives by the Gospel Values that guide and define Catholic education in the Archdiocese.

"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 Awards allow us to honor those alumni who, through their continuing commitment to the values of a Catholic life, have inspired an appreciation for the Catholic school tradition."

6:00 p.m.
Friday, January 29, 2010
The Crystal Tea Room - Wanamaker Building
Broad and Juniper Streets

The five honorees to be inducted into the Archdiocesan Hall of Fame are:

Most Reverend Francis B. Schulte - Archbishop Emeritus of New Orleans
Norwood Academy; St. Joseph's Preparatory School

Archbishop Francis B. Schulte's commitment to Catholic education is a longstanding one. After graduating from St. Joseph's Preparatory School and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Archbishop Schulte became assistant superintendent and, later, superintendent of Archdiocesan schools in Philadelphia. Archbishop Schulte has the distinction of being the first Catholic priest to serve as chairman of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. He also served as Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia, Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, WV, and, most recently, Archbishop of New Orleans, LA, a position he held until 2002.

Jane Arnold - Bishop McDevitt High School, Department of Institutional Advancement
St. Fidelis Parish School, Brooklyn Diocese, NY; Dominican Commercial High School, Brooklyn Diocese, NY; Bishop McDevitt High School, Honorary Graduate

Ask Jane Arnold about her Catholic faith and she'll tell you that it is the "greatest treasure of her life"-a treasure that was nourished and enriched by her Catholic education. Ask her colleagues at Bishop McDevitt Catholic High School or any one of her 12 children, and they'll tell you about the humble, kind, and generous nature of this 2010 Distinguished Graduate.

Ms. Arnold's commitment to Catholic education goes far beyond her own schooling at New York's St. Fidelis Parish School and Dominican Commercial High School. Having had her own life so deeply enriched by Catholic education, Ms. Arnold saw to it that all 12 of her children attended Bishop McDevitt High School. And, as a testament to the value of a Catholic education, nine of her children went on to attain graduate degrees. Today, Ms. Arnold continues to give back to Catholic education by working in the Institutional Advancement office at Bishop McDevitt where she helps publicize and promote the school.

Tony Conti - Former Office Managing Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers- Philadelphia
Immaculate Conception Parish School, Germantown; Cardinal Dougherty High School

When reflecting on his Catholic education, two messages stand out for Tony Conti: one, the value of discipline; and two, that being a good person was more important than being the smartest person in the room. In looking at Mr. Conti's accomplishments-both professionally and as an active and charitable member of the community-it is clear that he continues to embody both messages.
The 2010 Distinguished Graduate award is another in a long line of accolades bestowed upon Mr. Conti. That list includes the Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Learning for Life Award, the CORA Distinguished Learning for Life Award, and the World Affairs Council Atlas Award. Among his proudest accomplishments, however, is his marriage of nearly 40 years to his wife Linda, and their three children, all of whom attended Catholic schools.

Peggie O'Neill- Founder, Prayer Power
Our Lady of Lourdes Parish School; Country Day School of Sacred Heart

Peggie O'Neill is the founder of Prayer Power, a Eucharistic Adoration movement that encourages people to pray before the Blessed Sacrament. With more than 7,000 members throughout the Archdiocese, Prayer Power has resulted in countless families developing a stronger relationship with Christ. The organization is also credited in contributing to an increase in men choosing the priesthood.
Today, in her roles as movement leader, wife, mother, and grandmother, Ms. O'Neill works tirelessly to inspire others to welcome Christ into their lives.

Gerald J. Parsons - Chairman and CEO Communications Test Design, Inc. Chairman, Archdiocesan Board of Education
Saints Phillip & James Parish School; Bishop Shanahan High School

What does it take to become the President and CEO of a global engineering and telecommunications service provider? In the words of Gerald Parsons: "hard work, relying on my faith, and conducting myself with fairness and honesty." In short, values Mr. Parsons received from his faith-filled upbringing, which included a loving family and Catholic education.

In addition to his role as a corporate leader, Mr. Parsons is Chairman of the Archdiocesan Board of Education. As Chairman, Mr. Parsons has made an indelible imprint in the Catholic community. Among his achievements are helping to develop and launch a tuition assistance program and working to build new Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese.

These five individuals exemplify the Promise Fulfilled by Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

To purchase tickets for the 2010 Distinguished Graduate Awards please visit


Meredith Wilson
Communications Specialist

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