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Jesuit priest Rev. William Watters, S.J., named 2019 Commencement speaker

Rev. Bill Watters, S.J.

Rev. William “Bill” Watters, S.J., the founder of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Baltimore, will deliver the Commencement address at Loyola University Maryland’s 167th Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 18, 2019, at 11 a.m. at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, Md.

Fr. Watters, currently the assisting priest at St. Ignatius Catholic Community in downtown Baltimore, has played a positively transformative role in Baltimore. When he was first sent to be the priest at St. Ignatius, he was meant to determine whether the struggling parish should close. Instead, he renovated the church and created an education system through the church.

Fr. Watters also started a middle school, high school, and preschool to be associated with St. Ignatius and serve Baltimore youth. St. Ignatius Academy, the middle school, opened in 1993. Cristo Rey Jesuit High School opened in 2007 and the preschool, Loyola Early Learning Center, opened in 2017.

Fr. Watters’ extensive education includes a bachelor’s in speech and communications from Fordham, a Master of Religious Education from Loyola University Chicago, and an M.A. from Toronto University.

“Every year we intentionally select a speaker for Commencement who understands the Jesuit values of Loyola and can inspire our undergraduate and graduate students to infuse those values into their lives. I am delighted this year to announce that the Fr. Watters will deliver the 2019 Commencement address,” said Rev. Brian Linnane, S.J., president. “Throughout his more than 50 years as a priest and more than 60 as a Jesuit, Fr. Watters has made a dramatic impact on the city of Baltimore, and particularly its youth, through his innovative, faith-filled approach to creating educational opportunities in the community.”

Also honored at Commencement will be Gerry Holthaus, ’71, Loyola’s 2008 Business Leader of the Year, who will receive the President’s Medal; Karen Paterakis Philippou, ’90, secretary of the board of trustees, who will receive the Carroll Medal; Carol Abromaitis, Ph.D., professor of English at Loyola, who will receive the Newman Medal; and Strong City Baltimore, which will receive the Milch Award.

More information about Loyola’s 2019 Commencement Exercises is available at