Antonio Ortiz, the first lay president of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago and a graduate of the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) Teaching Fellows program, will serve as the keynote speaker at ACE’s 2022 Commencement Ceremony at the University of Notre Dame on Saturday (July 9).
“We are thrilled that Antonio will join us at commencement,” said John Staud, the executive director of ACE. “He has a deep understanding of our mission, and he’s dedicated his working life to ensuring that children benefit from a Catholic education that enables them to flourish academically and spiritually.”
Founded in 1996, Cristo Rey pioneered the corporate work study program model for inner city education that has since inspired a national network of 38 schools serving traditionally under-resourced communities across the country. Through the innovative program, students fund the majority of the cost of their education by working one day a week at a corporate partner.
Ortiz joined Cristo Rey in 2000, first as the director of corporate and foundation relations and then as associate principal, before becoming president in June 2012. From 2010 to 2012, he worked as a senior director at the Big Shoulders Fund, a nonprofit that supports Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Ortiz graduated from Notre Dame in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in public policy. He was a member of the fifth cohort of ACE teachers, serving in Mission, Texas, and earning a master’s degree in education from Notre Dame. Ortiz has served on the University’s Board of Trustees as its young alumni representative. He also earned a master’s degree in business administration from Loyola University Chicago.
ACE commencement exercises are set for 3:30 p.m. in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. Notre Dame will bestow 121 graduate degrees upon the next generation of Catholic school teachers and leaders who completed periods of formation and service in two nationally recognized programs.
Eighty-three graduates of the ACE Teaching Fellows program will receive master of education degrees as the culmination of two years of academic study combined with teaching in Catholic K-12 schools in underserved areas around the country. Thirty-eight graduates from ACE’s Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program will receive master of art degrees in educational leadership, concluding 25 months of formation that prepared them to be principals and other leaders in Catholic education.
ACE will also present awards at the ceremony to honor three of its graduates. Mary Neville, a member of ACE Teaching Fellows’ 17th cohort and an assistant professor at New Mexico State University’s School of Teacher Preparation, Administration and Leadership, will receive the Michael Pressley Award for a Promising Scholar in the Education Field. Meaghan Crowley-Sullivan and Dennis Rankin will receive the Michael Pressley Award for Excellence in Catholic Education, given to those who graduated between five and 10 years ago and have distinguished themselves in making significant contributions to the ministry of Catholic education. Crowley-Sullivan, a member of the 18th cohort of ACE Teaching Fellows and the 16th cohort of the Remick Leadership Program, is the curriculum and professional learning developer for the iDEAL Institute at Loyola Marymount University. Rankin, a member of the 17th cohort of ACE Teaching Fellows and the 16th cohort of the Remick Leadership Program, is the principal of St. Peter Catholic School in Saint Paul, Minnesota.