NEW ORLEANS — Loyola University says Saints and Pelicans owner Gayle Benson will receive an honorary degree and will speak at this spring’s commencement.
Loyola says Ms. Benson will receive an honorary degree of humane letters and will deliver the commencement address on Saturday, May 11, at 10:00 in the morning.
The university says it selected Ms. Benson because she is, “A devoted Catholic and generous philanthropist….” Benson is also the first woman to own both an NFL and NBA franchise.
“Whether she is quietly leading from the sidelines of the Superdome or creating new scholarships for students, Gayle Benson is a crucial contributor to the renaissance and spirit of New Orleans,” Loyola President Tania Tetlow said in a written statement. “She is not only one of the most influential women in sports and in the city of New Orleans, she is a stalwart supporter of the Catholic faith, helping Loyola and Catholic schools across the city to educate future generations.”
According to Loyola, because of their service and generosity, in 2012 Gayle and Tom Benson were awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, the highest papal honor that Catholic lay people can receive.
Musician Deacon John Moore, Rabbi Alexis Berk of Touro Synagogue, Governor John Bel Edwards, and scholar Hiroshi Motomura will also receive honorary degrees.