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Sr. Carle, Diaz receive honorary degrees

May 16, 2022
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Creighton commencement honorary degree recipients

Creighton University conferred two honorary degrees during its undergraduate commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 14, at CHI Health Center Omaha.

The recipients were Sr. Judy Carle, RSM (above left), and commencement speaker Natalie Diaz, MFA (above right), both of whom received a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

Sr. Judy Carle, RSM

Carle, who has been a member of the Sisters of Mercy for 64 years, was honored for leading a life dedicated to education, volunteer work and social activism focusing especially on the homeless, incarcerated, immigrants, and others residing on the margins of society.

She served on the advisory committee of Healing WELL, an organization supporting the homeless of San Francisco, and as a coordinator for Mercy Volunteer Corps. She is an ambassador to the Catherine Center, a Catholic residential program that helps previously incarcerated women transition back into society.

In 1991, Sr. Carle helped establish the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. The institute comprises communities in the United States, Central America, South America, the Philippines, Guam and the Caribbean, which all express a special concern for women and children who are trafficked for sexual exploitation and labor.

Natalie Diaz, MFA

Diaz is a Native American poet, former professional basketball player, holder of the Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry at Arizona State University, and the recipient of the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

She serves as the director of the Center for Imagination in the Borderlands at Arizona State University, which she created. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, won the American Book Award, while her second, Postcolonial Love Poem, won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2021.

Diaz, who speaks Mojave and Spanish, has been involved in language revitalization efforts on her reservation. As a poet, she is renowned for blending personal, political and cultural references in works that challenge the systems of belief underlying contemporary American culture.