Saint Martin’s University will confer honorary doctorate degrees to three members of the Benedictine community at its commencement ceremony next Saturday, May 7.
“Each year Saint Martin’s recognizes community members whose achievements inspire others to live with heart,” said outgoing Saint Martin’s University President Roy F. Heynderickx in a university press release.
“This year we are proud and honored to recognize three individuals that exemplify the importance of our mission: Father James Lee for his service to the Catholic community, Sister Angela Hoffman for her commitment to serving and improving the field of science, and Kathleen Heynderickx for her service to the Saint Martin’s community, the release stated.
Diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2017, Fr. Lee served in Tanzania from 1972 to 1982 as a missionary, later joining Maryknoll’s formation department, then parochial vicar at St. Francis of Assisi parish in Burien, after which becoming pastor to Assumption Parish in Bellingham and eventually to Saint Michael Parish in Olympia where he currently serves as pastor.
The university pointed out that despite his condition, which is widely known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Fr. Lee holds several positions in the archdiocese, including having sat on Pope John Paul II High School’s board, valuing “the importance of the interplay of faith, reason, service, and community in the formation of a lively and robust Catholic faith.”
Sr. Hoffman, according to the university, is a Benedictine nun and educator for the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). An alumni with a degree in education, Sr. Hoffman taught elementary and high school students in Tacoma and Lacey then spent four years at the Pacific Science Center before teaching at Saint Martin while earning degrees at Pacific Lutheran University and Oregon Health Services University. She has been teaching at the University of Portland since 1988.
Sr. Hoffman has served in various leadership positions with the American Chemical Society (ACS), the Oregon Academy of Science (OAS), and the University of Portland (UP). Mentoring students in STEM is an important part of her career, including 290 undergraduate students, 60 high school Saturday Academy and Project SEED students, and 7 Murdock Partners in Science high school teachers. Some awards include election as a fellow of both American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and of ACS, the James Culligan Award by UP, the Award for Outstanding Teacher in Science and Mathematics in Higher Education (OAS), and the Distinguished Alumni Award from Saint Martin’s.
Kathleen Heynderickx is the wife of the university president, who will end his tenure on June 30.
. The university described her as a “perennial student,” having taken various courses on arts and gardening in several community colleges. The statement follows:
“Kathleen made it her mission early on to be visible to and as involved with the students as possible. She wanted them to know they should be seen as individuals, each on their own journey at Saint Martin’s. With her welcoming nature, she would meet up with students, joining them for walks, playing disc golf, riding her longboard with them around campus, or participating in student-led events, including dancing in the annual luau. She and Dr. Stephen Parker co-captained an intramural volleyball team called “Smackulty” for five years. She and Dr. Heynderickx often hosted students at their house for dinner and valued hearing about their experiences and their aspirations. One of her favorite activities in recent years has been volunteering at Our Common Home Farms, a community farming program launched by Saint Martin's University in collaboration with Pope John Paul II High School and several community partners. She loves the mission around growing sustainable, ethically produced crops to provide nutritious food for families in need. Working on the farm has allowed her to combine her lifelong love of gardening with her commitment to service and helping others.”
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