Sister Norma Pimentel, TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020, will be the Commencement speaker

Students celebrate at Commencement in May 2023.

St. Mary’s University will honor the accomplishments of its 276 new graduates with an in-person Commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 9.

The Fall 2023 Commencement will begin at 1:30 p.m. in the Alumni Athletics & Convocation Center, Bill Greehey Arena.

Sister Norma Pimentel, M.J., (M.A. ’89), executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, will be the Commencement speaker and will receive a Doctorate in Humane Letters, honoris causa.

Due to limited seating, tickets are required for all guests. The ceremony will also be livestreamed on the St. Mary’s Livestream Channel webpage, and the ceremony recording will be available for download at that URL following the ceremony.

The ceremony will celebrate the achievements of 276 new graduates, including 121 receiving bachelor’s degrees, 100 receiving master’s degrees, 47 receiving degrees from the School of Law and eight receiving doctoral degrees.

More about the Commencement speaker:

Norma Pimentel, M.J. (M.A. ’89), Sister with the Missionaries of Jesus and executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley

Norma Pimentel, M.J. (M.A. ’89)

In recognition of her advocacy for migrants and humanitarian work along the U.S.-Mexico border, Pimentel has received the Catholic Charities USA Martin Luther King Jr. “Keep the Dream Alive” Award, Rio Grande Valley’s “Citizen of the Year,” TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020 and is the recipient of the University of Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, which is among the highest honors for an American Catholic.

Pimentel has testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on the “State of Civil Rights in Immigration Detention Facilities” and spoke on “Women Upholding Human Dignity” at the United Nations.

Pimentel graduated from then The University of Texas-Pan American with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She received her Master of Arts in Theology from St. Mary’s.

“Called by many Pope Francis’ favorite nun because of his recognition in 2015 of Sister Pimentel’s loving protection of migrants at the Border, Sister Pimentel has served since 2004 as Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley,” said St. Mary’s University President Thomas M. Mengler, J.D. “I am privileged to honor Sister Pimentel in celebration of her outstanding career of serving the most vulnerable among us — as she has done for many years — with respect and care, compassion and love.”

Additional information for the ceremony can be found on the University’s Commencement webpage.

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