Mount St. Joseph University (Mount) proudly announces Sister Helen Prejean as the keynote speaker for its Commencement Ceremony scheduled for May 11, 2024.

Mount St. Joseph News

CINCINNATI, Oh. — Sister Helen Prejean is internationally renowned for her unwavering advocacy for social justice, making her an excellent choice to address the graduating Class of 2024.

Born on April 21, 1939  in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Sister Helen Prejean joined the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1957. Over the years, she dedicated herself to teaching and serving in various capacities within her religious community. It was in 1982 when Sister Helen’s path took a turn as she moved to the St. Thomas Housing Project in New Orleans, where she began her transformative work.

Sister Helen's journey led her to become a spiritual advisor to death row inmates, an experience that impacted her and ignited her mission against the death penalty. Her seminal work, "Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States," sparked a national dialogue on capital punishment and inspired a critically acclaimed film.

Throughout her lifetime, Sister Helen has tirelessly advocated for the Catholic Church to oppose capital punishment unequivocally. Her efforts culminated in influencing revisions to the Catholic Catechism, aligning the Church's stance firmly against executions.

“We are honored to welcome Sister Helen Prejean to Mount St. Joseph University as our 2024 commencement speaker,” said President H. James Williams, Ph.D. “Her courageous advocacy and commitment to social justice embody the values we strive to instill in our graduates. Sister Helen’s presence will undoubtedly inspire our students as they embark on their next journeys.”

In addition to Sister Helen Prejean’s address, she will also receive an honorary degree from the University. Alumni Dan Sutton, President and chief executive officer of Kemba Credit Union, and Joe Gutzwiller, chief financial officer at Cinfed Credit Union, will also speak at the graduation ceremonies. 

The commencement ceremony will celebrate the achievements of the Mount’s 2024 graduating students and honor the contributions of Sister Helen Prejean, Dan Sutton, and Joe Gutzwiller to their respective fields and communities.

For more information about the Mount’s commencement ceremonies please visit our Commencement page here.

About the Mount

As a Catholic institution rooted in the values of the Sisters of Charity, Mount St. Joseph University excels at serving the common good. Undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students at the Mount are inspired to think beyond the classroom and redraw the bounds of what’s possible for their futures. This is accomplished through individualized educational experiences, a safe, secure campus environment, and an all-in commitment from faculty and staff to inspire students to reach their highest potential. The Mount fosters life-long learners who serve, care, and contribute to the world beyond their front doors.