April 28, 2014
Michele Norris, National Public Radio host and special correspondent, will deliver the address during the 99th annual commencement ceremony at the College of Saint Benedict at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 17, in the Clemens Field House on the CSB campus, St. Joseph, Minn.
Karen Bachman, former CSB Board of Trustees member, will receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the college in recognition of her accomplishments in her professional career and as a community volunteer. Bachman worked for Honeywell for more than 30 years rising to the level of vice president of communications and was the first woman to sit on the company's policy committee. She has also served on several arts and other nonprofit boards in the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Central Minnesota areas.
Erin Wissler, a senior chemistry major from Indianapolis, will be the student commencement speaker. She was selected by this year's senior class.
The 2014 CSB graduating class includes 495 women. When combined with Saint John's University's 454 undergraduate men, this year's combined undergraduate graduating class totals 949, the second largest combined class in the colleges' history.
Norris attended the University of Wisconsin and majored in electrical engineering, and graduated from the University of Minnesota, where she studied journalism. She currently resides in Washington, D.C.
From 2002-12, Norris served as co-host of NPR's newsmagazine "All Things Considered." After stepping down from "All Things Considered," Norris spent took a sabbatical to travel and develop two initiatives:
"The Race Card Project" and NPR's "Backseat Book Club." In April 2014, "The Race Card Project" received a Peabody Award for excellence in electronic media.
In September 2010, Norris released her first book, "The Grace of Silence: A Memoir." The book examines how America talks about race in the wake of Barack Obama's presidential election, and Norris explores her own family's racial legacy.
Prior to working at NPR, Norris was a correspondent for ABC News from 1993-2002. Norris reported extensively on education, inner city issues, the nation's drug problem and poverty. She has also reported for the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times newspapers.
Norris has received various honors for her work, including the 2010 Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award for her and co-host Steve Inskeep's program, "The York Project: Race and the 2008 Vote;" the 2009 Journalist of the Year award from the National Association of Black Journalists; the National Association of Black Journalists' 2006 Salute to Excellence Award, for her coverage of Hurricane Katrina; and the University of Minnesota's Outstanding Achievement Award.
In 2007, Ebony Magazine's honored her with their eighth Annual Outstanding Women in Marketing and Communications Award, and in 2009 Norris was named one of Essence Magazine's "25 Most Influential Black Americans." She also received an Emmy Award and Peabody Award for her contribution to ABC News' coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.