Welder along with Bishop Robert Barron and Dr. Carolyn Woo recognized at Catholic college

BISMARCK, ND — One of America’s most prestigious Catholic schools bestowed its highest honor upon University of Mary President Emerita, Sister Thomas Welder, OSB. At its recent 124th commencement, Saint Anselm College (Manchester, NH) conferred Welder with the honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in front of 442 members of its graduating Class of 2017.

Sister Thomas Welder

Sister Thomas Welder

It’s the third college beyond the University of Mary to bestow such honors on Welder. St. Scholastica was the first college to confer an honorary degree upon Welder and then in 2015 Belmont Abbey College (Charlotte, NC) did the same.

Welder is in select company as she received her distinction from Saint Anselm College alongside two other nationally acclaimed Catholic leaders:  Bishop Robert Barron was awarded the Doctorate of Divinity and Dr. Carolyn Woo, former president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), earned the honorary Doctorate of Humanities.

Both Bishop Barron and Woo have ties to the University of Mary. Barron, an internationally renowned Catholic evangelizer with Word on Fire Ministries, received Mary’s prestigious Lumen Vitae Medal (Latin for “light of life”), in 2015, which is given to those who are champions of Catholic education and who bring others closer to Christ and his Church. Woo spoke at Mary and publicly lauded Mary’s students as “wholesome” and stating “their faith is real to them.”

Dedicating 31 years to the growth and prosperity of the University of Mary, Welder served the longest tenure as female president at any college or university in America when she retired in 2009.

Active in community, state and national professional, civic and religious organizations, Welder has promoted and modeled the Benedictine values. Under her leadership, Mary College expanded to university status in 1986 and added undergraduate and graduate degree programs at locations throughout the state and region. During her presidency, enrollment grew from 925 students to nearly 3,000 in 2004.

As president emerita, Welder most recently earned the Caritas Award from Catholic Charities North Dakota. In 2004, she received the prestigious Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award — the highest state award presented to select individuals who have achieved national recognition, reflecting credit and honor upon North Dakota and its citizens. The award states, “Sister Thomas is recognized as a woman who lives, serves and leads by example. Envisioning the University of Mary as the nation’s premier institution for the preparation of servant leaders, Sister Thomas promotes competence in communication, commitment to values and service to community.”

Welder attended the College of St. Benedict, graduated from the College of

St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, and earned a master’s degree in music from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. She is a member of the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery in Bismarck.