Guests applaud award recipients at St. Thomas Day

Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna

The Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award honors an alumnus/alumna for leadership and service to St. Thomas, the community and in his or her field of endeavor. Since 1971, Alumni Relations has honored an individual each year for their extraordinary achievement.

Know someone deserving?

Nominations are accepted throughout the year.
Michael Hoffman and others opening the Melrose-Toro Principled Leadership Center

2022 Award Recipient

Michael Hoffman '88

Michael Hoffman is the former Chairman and CEO of the Toro Company, a proud Tommie, and a community advocate. Michael started his career at Toro at the age of 22 while taking classes at St. Thomas and worked his way up the ranks of the company to be elected President of the Company in 2004, serve as CEO 2005-2016, and Chairman 2006-2017. In partnership with the Toro Company and the Hoffman Family Foundation, Michael established the Melrose and The Toro Company Center for Principled Leadership in 2020 to promote and celebrate principled leadership through academic research, teaching, and outreach activities. Michael embodies the strong work ethic and incredible leadership skills St. Thomas instills within all alumni.

Maj. Michelle Currn in her pilot helmet Profile shot of Blase Cupich Mary Brainerd, Distinguished Alumna 2018 Andy Cecere, president of U.S. Bank, speaks at a First Friday event November 4, 2016 in the Anderson Student Center's Woulfe Alumni Hall.


Maj. Michelle Curran '09

In February 2019, Capt. Michelle Curran performed a flyover during the Super Bowl. It was her first time with the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, also known as the Thunderbirds. She was commissioned as a second lieutenant the same day she graduated from St. Thomas. Curran was only the fifth female pilot in the Thunderbirds’ history. Her extraordinary achievement at a young age demonstrates leadership, service to country and supreme excellence in her field.

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Cardinal Blase Cupich '71

Cupich is an American prelate of the Catholic Church, a cardinal who serves as the ninth archbishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago. He is also a member of the Roman Curia’s Congregation for Bishops, which plays a role in advising on bishop appointments and episcopal matters.


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Mary Brainerd '79 M.B.A.

For 15 years as president and CEO of HealthPartners, Brainerd led the largest consumer-governed, nonprofit health-care organization in the country. As a founder and former chair of the Itasca Project, she demonstrates her ability to guide others in seeking to advance the common good.

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Andrew Cecere '82

Cecere was named president of U.S. Bancorp in 2016, chief executive officer in 2017 and chairman in 2018. Cecere has been with U.S. Bancorp since 1985 and has held other leadership roles within the organization, including chief financial officer, chief operating officer, president and vice chairman.

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