Stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan and his wife and creative partner, Jeannie Gaffigan, will address the Class of 2016 at The Catholic University of America Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 14.
Gaffigan’s humor revolves largely around fatherhood, personal observations, and food. He has received Grammy nominations for his successful comedy specials, including Mr. Universe and Jim Gaffigan: Obsessed, and he is the author of two books, his memoir Dad is Fat and Food: A Love Story. Jim is known as a “clean comic” who doesn’t use foul language and who has incorporated his Catholic faith into his act.
The couple lives in Manhattan with their two daughters and three sons. Despite a busy work schedule on their TV Land sitcom, The JimGaffigan Show, the duo tries to prioritize family life whenever possible, sometimes taking the family along on cross-country comedy tours.
“I am delighted that we will be welcoming Jim and Jeannie Gaffigan to deliver this year’s Commencement address to our graduates,” said University President John Garvey. “This couple has changed the face of comedy and the entertainment industry by putting the great adventure of marriage and family life on center stage. I have no doubt that our graduates will be inspired by the Gaffigans’ commitment to their Catholic faith, which shapes both their personal and professional vocations.”
In a 2015 Religion News Service interview, Jeannie shared this about their sitcom, which is loosely based on their life: “We just wanted to do something that would be funny for everyone and show our reality,” she said. “[The characters] Jim and Jeannie go to church. They live their lives as Catholic, churchgoing people. They are not preaching to anybody, they just live by example. And they struggle.”
Jim was the only stand-up comedian to perform at September’s World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, where Pope Francis addressed an estimated 1.5 million people.
Paul Clement, former United States Solicitor General, will deliver the Commencement address for the Columbus School of Law on Friday, May 27. Clement served as the 43rd Solicitor General of the United States from June 2005 to June 2008. He has argued more than 80 cases before the United States Supreme Court and more Supreme Court cases since 2000 than any other lawyer.
Clement’s notable cases include NFL v. Brady and Hobby Lobby v. Burwell, among many others. Clement was recognized as the 2012 Lawyer of the Year by The Bar Association of the District of Columbia and as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America by the National Law Journal in 2014.
Clement is a Distinguished Lecturer in Law at the Georgetown University Law Center and a Distinguished Lecturer in Government at Georgetown University. He also serves as a Senior Fellow of the law center’s Supreme Court Institute.
“We are very pleased that Paul Clement will deliver the Law School’s 2016 Commencement address,” said Daniel F. Attridge, dean and Knights of Columbus Professor of Law. “Paul is widely admired for the extraordinarily high quality of his advocacy and his tireless dedication to pro bono representation, including on notable First Amendment religious liberty issues.”
The Gaffigans will each receive the degree Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa, from the University, while Paul Clement will receive a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
Additional honorary degrees will be conferred at the main Commencement exercises on Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, apostolic nuncio to the United States; Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., president of Boston College; and Alejandro Monteverde, film director of Bella and Little Boy.
Catholic University’s 127th Annual Commencement Ceremony takes place on May 14 and will start at 10 a.m. The exercises will be held outdoors on the east steps of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, located at 400 Michigan Ave., N.E. The Columbus School of Law Commencement, also held at the Basilica, is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. on May 27.