ST. LOUIS – Colleen Kelly Starkloff, co-founder of Paraquad and the Starkloff Disability Institute, served as guest speaker at Fontbonne University’s December commencement ceremony. Starkloff received an honorary doctorate of humane letters at the ceremony, which was held Saturday, Dec. 17, at 10 a.m. in the Dunham Student Activity Center. Fontbonne also honored Max Starkloff with a posthumous honorary doctorate of humane letters. 215 students received their degrees.
Starkloff and her late husband, Max, quadriplegic due to a spinal cord injury, developed Paraquad, a community-based center for independent living that empowers people with disabilities to live independently in the world. They dedicated their lives to securing legislation and advocating for all people with disabilities. In 2003, they founded the Starkloff Disability Institute to create a world that welcomes all people with disabilities. Since Max’s death in 2010, Starkloff has continued to work as an impassioned advocate.
“We are honored that Colleen Starkloff shared her message with the December 2011 graduating class,” said Dennis C. Golden, president of Fontbonne. “This was a landmark occasion in our students’ lives, and Mrs. Starkloff’s powerful message encouraged them to continue living the Fontbonne mission to 'think critically, act ethically and to assume responsibility as citizens and leaders' long after graduation.”
Michael Horn, of south St. Louis County, served as the commencement student speaker. He graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in biology. Additionally, the Fontbonne Alumni Association recognized Amy Caby, of St. Louis, with the Alumni Hood Award, given at each commencement ceremony to an outstanding graduating student who has the potential to be an outstanding member of the alumni association. Caby graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in corporate communications from Fontbonne’s OPTIONS Program.
Fontbonne University is a Catholic coeducational institution of higher education offering liberal arts and professional programs, as well as accelerated formats for busy adults. Fontbonne was founded in 1923 and is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.