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Distinguished alumnus Fred de Sam Lazaro to speak at St. Scholastica’s spring commencement

Internationally accomplished journalist Fred de Sam Lazaro will give the keynote speech at the spring commencement of The College of St. Scholastica. He is a 1981 graduate of the College.

de Sam Lazaro
St. Scholastica’s spring commencement will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 12, at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. There are 889 candidates for graduation including students at both the undergraduate and graduate level. The most popular undergraduate majors are Nursing, Psychology and Health Information Management.

De Sam Lazaro graduated from St. Scholastica with a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts. He worked at Minnesota Public Radio in Duluth when it was housed on the St. Scholastica campus. Today, he is executive director of the Under-Told Stories Project, a program that combines international journalism and teaching at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. He has served with public television’s “The NewsHour” since 1985 and was a regular contributor and substitute anchor for PBS’ “Religion and Ethics Newsweekly.”

He also has directed films from India and the Democratic Republic of Congo for the acclaimed documentary series, “Wide Angle.” He has reported from 70 countries, spanning the globe from Haiti to sub-Saharan Africa to south Asia, often focusing on stories that are under-reported in the mainstream U.S. media. In addition to regularly covering public health concerns, AIDS, development issues and social entrepreneurship, he led the first American crew to report on the crisis in Sudan’s Darfur region.

De Sam Lazaro is the recipient of two honorary doctorates (St. John’s University in 2001 and Arcadia University in 2012), numerous journalism awards, and media fellowships from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the University of Michigan. He served on St. Scholastica’s Board of Trustees from 2003 to 2012. He has also served on the boards of Minnpost, the Asian American Journalists Association, and the Children’s Law Center of Minnesota.

The commencement ceremony will begin with an academic procession, led by David Bouschor and David Vosen of the Duluth Scottish Heritage Pipers. Next, the American Indian Drum Group will perform “Around the Earth,” and vocalist Bianca Aspin will perform “America the Beautiful.” Graduating student Ashley Radtke will provide the invocation. Christopher Dolan, a member of the class of 2001 and chair of the Board of Trustees, will serve as master of ceremonies.

St. Scholastica President Colette Geary, Ph.D., will offer welcoming remarks, and de Sam Lazaro will offer the keynote address. Next, the St. Scholastica Steel Band will perform “Pan in a-minor.” The Student Address will follow, given by DyAnna Grondahl, a Psychology and Peace and Justice Studies double major and winner of the 2019 Student Leadership Award. The annual award goes to a senior who demonstrates an outstanding commitment to the community, and is selected through a vote of the graduating class. Next, the student degrees will be conferred.

The day’s activities will also include a celebratory Baccalaureate Mass at 9:30 a.m. in the Mitchell Auditorium on campus, brunch in the Greenview Dining Room in Somers Hall on campus from 10:30 a.m. to noon, and a reception after the ceremony in the DECC’s Lake Superior Ballroom.

The College of St. Scholastica is nationally recognized for quality. Rankings by U.S. News & World Report classify it as one of the Midwest’s top regional universities. Learn more at