Music Doyenne Ana María Martínez is Keynote Speaker for UST 2022 Commencement
Grammy Award® winner Ana María Martínez, one of the foremost sopranos of her time, takes the stage at the 2022 University of St. Thomas-Houston Commencement to deliver the keynote address on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at the NRG Stadium, NRG Parkway, Houston, 77054. The ceremony begins at 11 a.m. UST will celebrate the achievements of 531 undergraduate and 444 graduate students.
Martínez is an alumna of the Houston Grand Opera Studio and a resident of Houston. Born in Puerto Rico to a Puerto Rican mother and a Cuban father, Martínez spent her formative years in her birth country and New York City. She graduated from The Juilliard School with both Bachelor's and Master of Music degrees.
Martinez is passionate about education and recognizes a degree from the University of St. Thomas produces well-rounded individuals who are multi-faceted. "These UST graduates are ready for a career and life," she says.
The spirit of her talk centers on lessons learned from her father who left Cuba in 1960 for the United States, as well as mother, who was born in Puerto Rico and who pursued her dream of becoming an opera singer. Martinez looks forward to sharing her parents’ journeys, as well as her own, and how these stories can inspire today’s graduates to follow their dreams.
Martinez's international career spans the world's most commanding opera houses and concert halls. A winner of the 15th Annual Opera News Awards, her repertoire encompasses opera's most intriguing and diverse leading ladies. She engages her audiences season after season with signature roles, spellbinding debuts and a myriad of captivating recordings. Her dynamic concert career includes engagements with some of the world's most celebrated orchestras and conductors. She has toured with star tenors Andrea Bocelli and Plácido Domingo for many years.
Martínez continues to explore all aspects of her career, both on and off stage.
In 2019, she joined Houston Grand Opera as their first-ever Artistic Advisor. Following a two-year appointment as Artist-in-Residence at The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, she became a professor for its Department of Voice in July 2021. She is the 2021 recipient of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner's Hispanic Heritage Award in the Arts. She still maintains a robust touring schedule and is the mother to her 15-year-old son, Lucas.
Honorary Degree: Dr. Herbert P. Edmundson Jr. '69, M.D., Ph.D
UST will present an honorary doctorate to alumnus and former Board Member and Chair Dr. Herbert P. Edmundson Jr. '69, M.D., Ph.D for his unwavering commitment to his alma mater. Edmundson, a neurologist with a thriving practice at Memorial Neurological Association, has supported St. Thomas with his time, talent and philanthropic giving. He is the first alumnus to be named Board chair. He served on the board from 1999 to 2020 and as chair from 2014 to 2019. He now serves as a Life Director to the Board of Directors.
In 2018, UST's Donald S. Nesti, CSSp Center for Faith & Culture, honored Edmundson with its Faithful Citizen Award at its Faithful Citizenship dinner.
Commencement Student Speaker: Michaella Maniscalo
Honor Student, former president of Celts for Life, and current Student Body President Michaella Maniscalo '22 graduates from the University of St. Thomas with a BBA in Economics and a minor in Philosophy. During the 2021-2022 academic year, she was chosen as one of 16 students in the nation to receive the prestigious Röpke-Wojtyła fellowship.
"I am incredibly grateful for the gift of my education from UST," Maniscalo said. "From the moment I arrived at UST, I knew that my professors and classmates cared about my growth. I have been challenged in my classes, encouraged by my friends, and given opportunities to serve the University through various leadership positions."
Her commencement speech title is "Celebrating Who We Were Made to Be." In her talk, Maniscalo will reflect on St. Thérèse of Lisieux's prayer, "Jesus, help me simplify my life by learning what you want me to be and becoming that person." Through education, friendship, and mentorship at UST, graduates have been formed to discern who they were made to be."
The University of St. Thomas is Houston’s Catholic University. For more than 75 years, UST has graduated students into successful careers in medicine, education, business, public administration and more. As Houston grows, UST will continue to provide the strong leaders and skilled workers needed to meet those demands.