College of Arts & Science

College of Business

College of Educational and Health Sciences and the Institute for Ethical Leadership & Interdisciplinary Studies

Bishop Foys’ 2021 Commencement Message

Message from President Chillo, LP.D. 

Dear Thomas More Class of 2021, 


I hope you realize the remarkable achievement of becoming a graduate. There is no doubt that Thomas More University has prepared you well to examine the ultimate meaning of life, your place in the world, and your responsibility to others. Commencement marks the opportunity for us to celebrate your notable achievement and it signifies that you have met all of the requirements for graduation. As you walk across the stage today, walk slowly, taking it all in and realizing that this graduation is a defining moment for both you and your family. 

Commencement is always one of my favorite academic traditions. My graduation day was one I’ll never forget. The sense of achievement and gratitude I felt as I walked across the stage that day was unsurpassed. I hope each of you are feeling the same, knowing that this community is proud of you and excited for the future you are going to pave with your new, well-earned degree. As you go out into the world, serving as great leaders in your future endeavors, I know that you will succeed because of the education and Saints Experience you’ve received here at Thomas More. You have made an impact on this campus, and now you are equipped to make an impact in our community and world. 

During your years at Thomas More, and especially throughout the past year, you have demonstrated a strong spirit of adaptability, and I am confident that the challenges we have faced together as a campus community will serve you well in your careers and personal lives. I encourage you to continue to inspire, be a trailblazer, and most importantly, stand up for what you believe in as did our patron saint Sir Thomas More. You will make a difference and you will always be a Saint. 

I am proud of you and congratulate you on this accomplishment today. 

God bless, 

Joseph L. Chillo, LP.D. 


Presidential Service Award – Abby Link

Abby Link, the 2021 Presidential Service Award recipient, is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics. During her time at Thomas More, Link has not only been a dedicated student, but an active member and advocate for campus life, and the well-being of individuals that constitute it. She is easily recognizable through her multiple leadership roles, her persistent dad-jokes, and for being the number one patron of Thomas More apparel. As she moves on to pursue her master’s degree in public administration at the University of Cincinnati, Link remains present at Thomas More through the many students she has mentored and her love for the community around her.

Outstanding Senior Award – Whitney Johnson

Whitney Johnson, the 2021 Outstanding Senior Award recipient, is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. During her time at Thomas More, Johnson has served as president of Black Student Union, a resident assistant, a mentor resident assistant, a residence life intern, Camp Summit mentor, Camp Summit coordinator, and has hosted Live Whitney Wednesdays on Student Life’s social media accounts. Upon graduation, she will be attending Miami University in the Student Affairs in Higher Education graduate program and will be a graduate assistant for the Office of Residence Life. She claims that Thomas More has been a platform for her to grow in leadership and she will be taking everything she has learned and her experiences at the University into her future as a professional and a person.

Digital, Graduate, and Professional Graduate Award – Rebecca Gaeddert

Rebecca Gaeddert, this year’s Digital, Graduate, and Professional Graduate Award recipient, is graduating with a Master of Ethical Leadership (MAEL). A Northern Kentucky native, Gaeddert obtained her bachelor’s degree in human resource management from Northern Kentucky University in 2018. Gaeddert is  currently a human resources professional at The Kroger Company, an animal lover, sister, daughter, and friend. She claims that the MAEL program has taught her the importance of authenticity and servant leadership in 21st century teams.

Digital, Graduate, and Professional Undergraduate Award – Naomi Diedrichs

Naomi Diedrichs, this year’s Digital, Graduate, and Professional Undergraduate Award recipient, is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Diedrichs is currently the corporate strategy manager at Toyota Boshoku America, Inc., and she has more than 20 years of experience in the automotive industry. Her current main activities at Toyota Boshoku America Inc. include the development of the company’s short and mid-term strategy and the implementation and monitoring of corporate governance. She also manages the company’s external affairs and public relations and works with Toyota Boshoku’s headquarters in Japan, as well as several manufacturing plants in USA, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil. She is originally from Japan and speaks both English and Japanese fluently. She graduated from Nagoya College Japan with an associate degree in English. On the weekends, she enjoys hot yoga and walking her two dogs with her husband. Her husband and she have two grown children who attend University of Kentucky.