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Commencement Speaker

Ken Hackett with Pope Francis and President Obama

Ken Hackett, the United States Ambassador to the Holy See from August 2013 through January of this year, will deliver the St. Ambrose University Commencement address.

Mr. Hackett will be conferred an honorary Doctor of Letters degree at the 1 p.m. ceremony at the i Wireless Center in Moline.

Prior to his appointment as the chief U.S. emissary to the Vatican, Mr. Hackett devoted his career to humanitarian service and Catholic philanthropy throughout the world.

He was president of Catholic Relief Services from 2003 through 2013, and was the organization's executive director from 1993 through 2013. Mr. Hackett joined Catholic Relief Services in 1972 after having served in the Peace Corps the previous four years.

In the course of his career, Mr. Hackett managed a nationwide leprosy program as well as a national health program for mothers and children in Sierra Leone; managed the agency's response to the mid-1980s famine in Ethiopia; and, in the 1990s, supervised relief operations in war-torn and famine-ravaged Somalia.

As ambassador to the Holy See, Mr. Hackett had the privilege to visit more than once with Pope Francis, and worked to solve issues confronting troubled nations such as Venezuela, the Congo, Burundi, Somalia, the Philippines and China. He also spearheaded efforts to battle human trafficking around the world.

In March of this year, he was appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Papal Order of Pope Pius IX.