Local News Archive
Print Issue: February 7, 1991
Monsignor Now A Bachelor
By Gretchen Keiser
Monsignor R. Donald Kiernan, P.A., is now Monsignor R. Donald Kiernan, B.A.
The president of Providence College made it official January 26 when he traveled from Rhode Island to Atlanta to present the former Providence College student of 40 years ago with the degree he had never received.
Father John Cummingham, OP, the president of the 3,800-student Dominican college, said he was astounded when he learned recently that Monsignor Kiernan, who studied there for three years, and left to become a priest, had never received his college degree. Monsignor Kiernan went on to study at Mount St. Marys Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., and took graduate courses at Catholic University of America.
Father Cummingham, who gave out the degree at a convocation with Mass, said that the schools dean and registrar researched Monsignor Kiernans academic record since leaving Providence, and determined that his course work more than qualified him to receive his college degree.
It is a genuine degree, not an honorary degree, he said, adding, its also the first personal graduation Ive ever been involved in.
The evening Mass, with Father Cummingham as principal celebrant and homilist, was concelebrated by Monsignor Kiernan and others, including Father Edward Dillon, vicar general. It was followed by a buffet supper and celebration, complete with Providence college pennants and colors, at All Saints parish where he is pastor. Monsignor Kiernan was given a college sweatshirt and cap by the Knights of Columbus, an organization he serves as chaplain.
A priest for over 40 years in Georgia, Monsignor Kiernan is a past editor of The Georgia Bulletin, has been chaplain to numerous police, sheriff and fire departments, including the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, and is active in many civic organizations. Father Dillon called him literally a one-man public relations campaign for the Catholic Church throughout the state of Georgia.