Saint Martin’s University in Lacey will award honorary degrees to Barbara and Virgil Clarkson and Abbot Neal Roth at its commencement next month.
In a news release, Saint Martin’s President Roy F. Heynderickx said the three embrace many Benedictine values, including the significance of community.
Roth was elected abbot of the Saint Martin’s Abbey in 1993, and is chancellor of Saint Martin’s University and a member of its board of trustees. He graduated from Saint Martin’s College in 1965 and joined the faculty at Saint Martin’s High School. He became a full member of Saint Martin’s Abbey in 1967 and later served as pastor for Sacred Heart Church in Lacey.
Barbara Clarkson has been on the South Puget Sound Community College Board of Trustees for 14 years. She also was president of the Ladies Elks, Olympia Elks Lodge #186, the Kiwanis Ladies Organization of Olympia, and the Olympia branch of the Tacoma Urban League.
Virgil Clarkson served 19 years on the Lacey City Council, including four terms as mayor. He was the regional director for the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials and served on the board of Senior Services for South Sound.
The Clarksons are founding members of the Black Alliance of Thurston County, which aims to end systemic racism and change Washington’s deadly force statute.
Saint Martin’s University commencement will be May 12 at Marcus Pavilion on the Lacey campus.