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March 16, 2015


The Archdiocese of Philadelphia will honor two remarkable groups who have contributed tirelessly to Catholic education in the Archdiocese with its 2015 Distinguished Graduate Awards. The event honors recipients whose vision, generosity, and shared commitment to living a Catholic life have inspired an appreciation for Catholic education

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
7:00 p.m.
The Crystal Tea Room - Wanamaker Building (9th floor)
Broad and Juniper Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19107

The 2015 Distinguished Graduate Awards honorees are:

Connelly Foundation
In 1955, John and Josephine Connelly chose to share their good fortune by establishing the Connelly Foundation, with the simple but clear purpose of improving the quality of life in the Philadelphia area by initially concentrating on higher education, providing support for parochial schools, and being attentive to the needs of the disadvantaged by giving grants to Catholic health care and social service providers.

Now celebrating its 60th Anniversary, the Connelly Foundation is guided by an 18-member Board of Trustees, with Josephine C. Mandeville CEO, Emily C. Riley EVP, and Victoria K. Flaville COO at its helm. Under their leadership, for the last 25 years, a major focus has been the development of academic enrichment programs for the elementary and high schools of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which include two extensive scholarship programs serving approximately 600 students each year. In addition, the Connelly Access Program allows 5,000 grade school students annually to immerse themselves in many of Philadelphia's cultural and historic institutions. With learning as its overarching philanthropic focus, additional initiatives include an enriched mathematics program using technology to reach several classrooms simultaneously, and a Summer Tech Academy educating 240 teachers and principals annually.

Religious Sisters Serving Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia
In honor of Pope Francis' call for a Year of Consecrated Life, which began on the First Sunday of Advent, November 30, 2014 and will close on the World Day of Consecrated Life, February 2, 2016, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is honoring the work of the Religious Sisters who have served and are currently serving parish, regional, independence mission and private Catholic elementary, secondary and special education schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Because of their outstanding contributions, achievements and continuing commitment to a Catholic life, the following orders are being honored for inspiring an appreciation for the values of a Catholic school education:

o Sisters of Saint Joseph of Philadelphia
o Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
o Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
o Sisters of Saint Francis of Philadelphia
o Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament
o Society of the Holy Child Jesus
o Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart
o Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity
o Sisters of St. Basil the Great
o Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth
o Religious Teachers Filippini
o Bernardine Franciscan Sisters
o Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur
o School Sisters of Notre Dame
o Sisters of Christian Charity

Bishop Michael Fitzgerald, who oversees Catholic educations in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said, "This year's honorees are truly a blessing to all the students past and present who have had the benefit of a Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The Connelly Foundation and the Religious Sisters have served generations of students in our Catholic Schools faithfully. Both of these groups embody the Christ-centered values instilled in our students and taught in classrooms each day. We are grateful for their tireless support and dedication. The Distinguished Graduate Awards are a wonderful way to shine a light on the countless number of people that make Catholic Education in the Philadelphia region possible and also to ensure that current and future students will receive quality Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for years to come."

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., and Bishop Fitzgerald will offer the opening and closing prayers. The emcee for the evening is Mr. Christopher Mominey, Chief Operating Officer and Secretary for Catholic Education. Mr. Mominey joined the Archdiocese's Office of Catholic Education in July 2013. This is his second consecutive year emceeing the Distinguished Graduate Awards.

Mr. Mominey said, "I'm honored to again be emceeing this celebratory evening for Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. During the last two years, we in the Office of Catholic Education and in the field have worked to change the mindset of Catholic education in the Archdiocese from hospice to hope. The Distinguished Graduate Awards allows us to honor those who have assisted us in fulfilling our mission for Catholic education in Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs, which is to equip saints for life in this world and the next."

Guests will be entertained by members of the All Catholic Jazz Band. Additionally, Tara Dougherty, a student from Conwell-Egan Catholic High School (Bucks County) will sing the National Anthem and perform on the piano during dinner.

During the program, both groups of honorees will be introduced by a student representative from an Archdiocesan high school as well as a video montage. In addition, names of all the Religious Orders and sisters who have served Archdiocesan schools will also scroll on venue screens throughout the night. Proceeds from the evening will benefit Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. More information on the dinner can be found at the 2015 Distinguished Graduate Awards website


Editor's Note: For more information about schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia please visit

Bonnie Olinger
Communications Specialist

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