May 8, 2017
Cockrell, Kowalski will receive honorary doctorates
USAA CEO Stuart Parker, who earned an MBA in Finance from St. Mary’s in 1995, will serve as keynote speaker at the University’s 165th annual Spring Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 13.
For their myriad contributions to the University, city and region, St. Mary’s also will award a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, to the Honorable Lila Cockrell, former mayor of San Antonio, and a Doctor of Philosophy, honoris causa, to Rosemary Kowalski, entrepreneur and philanthropist.
St. Mary’s will celebrate the accomplishments of 463 new graduates, including 387 receiving bachelor’s degrees, 73 receiving master’s degrees and three students receiving a doctoral degree.
Commencement exercises will begin at 1:30 p.m. at Bill Greehey Arena, inside the Alumni Athletics & Convocation Center on the St. Mary’s campus. Baccalaureate Mass will be held Friday, May 12, at 5:30 p.m., also at Greehey Arena. Media are welcome at both events.
One student – Vilimira Delcheva, receiving her B.B.A. in Management – will graduate with a 4.0 GPA. Twenty-seven students will graduate summa cum laude; 20 will graduate magna cum laude; 56 will graduate cum laude; and 23 will receive distinguished graduate honors.
More about Stuart Parker, from his bio
Stuart Parker leads one of America’s leading financial services companies. USAA has served military families since 1922, offering more than 11 million members insurance, banking, investment products and financial advice and planning services. With its headquarters in San Antonio and offices throughout the United States and Europe, the association owns or manages assets of more than $222 billion.
After joining USAA in 1998, Parker led the development of USAA’s financial planning practice and served as president of Financial Planning Services from 2004 to 2007. For the next five years, he led USAA’s Property and Casualty Insurance Group, frequently recognized as a leading insurer for customer service and advocacy. He served as chief financial officer from 2012 until May 2014, when he was named chief operating officer. He became CEO-elect in August 2014.
Before his civilian career, Parker served in the U.S. Air Force for nearly 10 years and flew combat missions during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
Parker graduated with a degree in Business Administration from Valdosta State University in Georgia, where he was a distinguished graduate from the Air Force ROTC program.
More about the Honorable Lila Cockrell
Texas Women’s Hall of Famer Lila Cockrell was mayor of San Antonio from 1975 to 1981 and again from 1989 to 1991. She was mayor pro tem in 1969 and served on city council from 1963 to 1970 and 1973-75.
She got her start in politics with the San Antonio League of Women Voters and was president of Dallas and San Antonio chapters. She also has been president of the Bexar County Medical Society. From 1998 until her retirement in 2013, she was president of the San Antonio Parks Foundation.
She graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1942 and went on to serve as an ensign in the WAVES branch of the U.S. Navy during World War II.
More about Rosemary Kowalski
Texas Business Hall of Famer Rosemary Kowalski is chairman emeritus of the RK Group, a catering and hospitality business that dates back to 1946. The business catered HemisFair ’68 and is the longtime caterer for all events held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.
Since handing the day-to-day control of the business to her son in 1989, she has been an active adviser, volunteer and philanthropist.
She was a member of the St. Mary’s University Board of Trustees from 1990 to 1992 and again from 2005 to 2007.