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Le Moyne College Announces Commencement Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipients

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (For Immediate Release) … Le Moyne College will hold its 58th commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 18, at 9:15 a.m. in the Onondaga County War Memorial. Retiring Rep. James Walsh will be the commencement speaker and will also receive the honorary degree of doctor of humane letters.

Dede Walsh, wife of the congressman, and James R. Mahoney will also receive the honorary degree of doctor of humane letters at the ceremony. The Rev. Msgr. Joseph Champlin will be honored posthumously with a doctor of humane letters degree.

James Walsh has represented the 25th Congressional District for 10 terms. He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, where he chaired four different subcommittees. As chair of the appropriations subcommittee with responsibility for federal veterans programming, Walsh ushered in the largest increases in veterans healthcare funding in the nation’s history and secured close to $80 million to update and improve Hancock Air National Guard Base.

In addition, Walsh serves as co-chair of the ad-hoc committee on Ireland and is past chair of the Friends of Ireland, having been first named to that post by the Speaker of the House in 1995. In these roles, Walsh led many delegations to Ireland and plays a key role in the Irish Peace Process. With his wife DeDe, he has been active in support of breast cancer research and treatment as well as community-based and federally funded relief for battered women and teenage mothers

DeDe Walsh is a supporter and former member of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Central New York Affiliate Board of Directors. She and her husband have been longtime advocates for increased breast cancer education and support services. They served as Honorary Co-Chairs of the annual Susan Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Race for the Cure in 1997 and 1998.

James R. Mahoney, a 1959 graduate of Le Moyne, served as assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and deputy administrator at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from 2002 to 2006. Mahoney has worked in more than 50 other nations in several different roles: negotiating and overseeing international joint venture technical companies, representing the U.S. government in specialist exchanges, advising government agencies (particularly in developing nations) on sustainable industry, fishery and agricultural practices, and advising several United Nations and other international agencies. He currently serves as director of the United States Climate Change Program.

The Rev. Msgr. Joseph M. Champlin, who died Jan. 17, served as pastor at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse, Holy Family in Fulton and St. Joseph’s, Camillus. In addition to his pastoral ministry, Father Champlin served as the associate director in the liturgy secretariat for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C. He spent a year at the North American College in Rome, Italy, and was the diocesan director of parish life and worship. Ten years ago, Father Champlin founded the Guardian Angel Society, a nonprofit effort to assist children from economically challenged homes with their education. The Society has raised nearly $2 million and helped 150 youngsters reach their academic potential. A prolific writer, he has written 50 books with over twenty million copies of his publications in print. For many years, he authored a weekly column on liturgy and worship, appeared in a dozen videos, and made numerous television appearances.

posted on: 3/25/2008