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U.S. Ambassador to Vatican Will Speak at Aquinas

June 09, 1988

The U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican will deliver the commencement address Saturday at Thomas Aquinas College, a private Catholic liberal arts school in Santa Paula.

Frank Shakespeare, who is only the second U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, will fly in from Rome to speak to the 30 graduating seniors, the largest graduating class since the school's founding in 1971.

"It's quite a wonderful thing," said Aquinas public affairs director Jim Twyman. "He's been interested in the college and accepted the invitation from two members of the graduating class."

Before becoming ambassador to the Vatican, Shakespeare was ambassador to Portugal. He also has served as director of the United States Information Agency, executive vice president of Westinghouse, and president of RKO General.

Other positions Shakespeare has held include chairman of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and chairman of the Heritage Foundation in Washington During the 1950s and 1960s, he was an executive at CBS.

Before Saturday's invitation-only outdoor ceremonies, a baccalaureate mass will be held at 9 a.m. on the college lawn. Bishop Glennon Flavin of Lincoln, Neb., will lead the mass. The Rev. John Hardon, professor of dogma and fundamental theology at St. John's University in New York, will assist Flavin. Thomas Aquinas College's first graduating class received diplomas in 1975. Thirteen classes have graduated. The Class of '88 is the largest class in the school's 17-year history.

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