Archbishop Charles Chaput received an honorary degree from Neumann University on March 14. The university presented the award during an academic convocation to celebrate Charter Day, the 47th anniversary of its founding.

“I hope to be an agent of good change in your life,” Archbishop Chaput told the crowd of more than 200 during remarks delivered after the degree had been conferred. It was the first honorary degree presented to Archbishop Chaput since his appointment as Archbishop of Philadelphia by Pope Benedict XVI on July 19, 2011.

Archbishop Chaput, the first Native-American archbishop,  was installed as Archbishop of Philadelphia Sept. 8, 2011. He has served on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (2003-06), on the board of directors for The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. (1994-2009) and the National Catholic Bioethics Center (1993-2006).

In a homily delivered during Charter Day Mass, Archbishop Chaput complimented Neumann for having “an extraordinary reputation in terms of its Catholic identity and its relationship with the broader Church.”

After the awarding of the degree, Edel Bhreathnach, Ph.D., presented the Dr. Dorothy A.P. Leunissen Presidential Lecture, Imitatio Christi: Saint Clare and Medieval Holy Women. Bhreathnach is deputy director of the Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Institute for the Study of Irish History and Civilisation, University College, Dublin.