Saint Francis announces 2024 commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient


FORT WAYNE, Ind.—The University of Saint Francis is pleased to announce the 2024 Saint Francis Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient. The commencement will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 4 at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.

Commencement Speaker: Greg Erlandson

Erlandson, former editor-in-chief and director of Catholic News Service, began his career as a freelance reporter for the National Catholic Register. He lived in Rome for three years, covering the pontificate of St. John Paul II for Catholic News Service. Upon moving to Fort Wayne, he served as editor of Our Sunday Visitor newspaper, rising to editor in chief, and then president and publisher of the Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division. Erlandson later became president of the Catholic Press Association. He served as a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and was one of six international experts appointed by Pope Francis’s Council of Cardinals to the Vatican Media Committee. Erlandson’s career culminated as editor-in-chief and director of Catholic News Service, and he continues to write and publish.

His honors include the St. Francis De Sales Award for outstanding contributions to Catholic journalism and the Bishop John England Award for publishers, both from the Catholic Press Association. He was also inducted into the Association of Catholic Publishers’ Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement.

Honorary Degree Recipient: Meg (Klingenberger) Distler

Distler is the executive director of the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation. Inspired by her Catholic faith to help her community—and especially the most vulnerable—she has spent most of her career working in the nonprofit sector, primarily with women’s religious communities in Chicago, Sacramento and Fort Wayne. She is a Fort Wayne native, and Homestead High School and University of Notre Dame graduate.

Distler currently serves on the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend Finance Council and is a board member of Our Lady of Victory Noll Community Support Trust. Other local groups who have enjoyed her tremendous insight include Leadership Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, the Legacy Fund, the Fort Wayne Ballet, Fort Wayne Trails and the Junior League of Fort Wayne.  

She was honored with the Citizen of the Year Award for Fort Wayne by The Journal Gazette in 2010 for serving the Burmese refugee community. She has been personally recognized for her commitment to service with awards for the Notre Dame Club Person of the Year, Junior League of Fort Wayne’s E. Jane Hamilton Award, a Foellinger Foundation Stewardship Award Nominee for the Fort Wayne Trails, as well as additional awards for her work at the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation. 

For more information on the Saint Francis Commencement, contact Special Projects Manager Trina Herber at 260-399-7700, ext. 6000 or   

Founded in 1890 in the Catholic Franciscan tradition, the University of Saint Francis offers more than 60 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs through the College of Health Sciences and the College of Arts, Sciences and Business. In addition to its traditional programs, USF designs focused curricula for working adults in Fort Wayne, Crown Point and online. USF Downtown houses the music technology program while offering enhanced internship and networking opportunities for students. The University of Saint Francis, recognized as an NAIA Five-Star Champion of Character institution, has 18 athletic programs boasting two individual and four team NAIA national championships. Approximately 1,900 students from a broad geographic region attend USF.