Award-winning author, ministry leader, and cultural diversity advocate is 2024 Saint Michael’s Commencement speaker

April 29, 2024
Elizabeth Murray
Associate Director of Public Relations

Dr. Ansel Augustine, D. Min, an award-winning author and speaker, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Assistant Director of African American Affairs of the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church, will deliver the Commencement address at Saint Michael’s College to the Class of 2024.  

Dr. Ansel Augustine will be the Commencement speaker at the 117th Saint Michael's College commencement ceremony.

Dr. Ansel Augustine

Dr. Augustine, a member of the Saint Michael’s Board of Trustees, will speak during the College’s 117th Commencement Ceremony on May 12, 2024, which begins at 10 a.m.   

Dr. Augustine began his career in ministry more than 20 years ago when he became the youth minister at his home parish of St. Peter Claver in the Treme area of New Orleans, which he later helped rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. St. Peter Catholic Church was run for 30 years by the Edmundites, the Catholic order which also founded Saint Michael’s College.    

Throughout his career, Dr. Augustine has focused his ministry on youth, young adults, and multicultural groups, with social justice advocacy at the core of his work. He has also worked to shed light on the Black Catholic experience through workshops and presentations throughout the country, through his writing, and as the film producer of “Black Faith Matters,” for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award.   

This past February, Dr. Augustine was invited to campus by the Edmundite Center for Peace and Justice to give a talk titled “Radically Black and Authentically Catholic – A Journey of Faith.”   

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Ansel Augustine back to campus so he can share his wisdom with our graduates,” said Saint Michael’s College President Richard Plumb. “Dr. Augustine has used his own experiences and observations to help make the world a better, more inclusive place. His message is an important one for our graduates who will be embarking on their own paths and making their own marks on the world.”  

Dr. Augustine serves on the faculty of two higher education institutions: Xavier University of Louisiana’s Institute for Black Catholic Studies and Loyola University New Orleans’ Institute for Ministry. He also previously served as Campus Minister at Xavier University of Louisiana, Loyola University New Orleans, and St. John’s University in Queens, New York. He is the author of several books, including “The African American Catholic Youth Bible” and “Leveling the Playing Field: Can the Church We Love, Love Us Back?”  

Dr. Augustine most recently served as the Director of the Office of Black Catholic Ministries for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. He also formerly worked as New Orleans Area Director for Vagabond Missions, the Executive Director of Cultural Diversity and Outreach for the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Associate Director/Coordinator of Black Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the CYO Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office. He has served on the Board of Directors for the National Catholic Young Adult Ministry Association (NCYAMA) and the National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM).   

Additionally, Dr. Augustine has worked in prison ministry for more than 25 years in various capacities. He volunteers with the Mardi Gras Indian Council and at the Backstreet Cultural Museum. He is a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.; the Knights of Columbus; the Knights of Peter Claver; and the Wild Tchoupitoulas (Black Masking) Mardi Gras Indians. He is also an Associate Member of the Sisters of the Holy Family in New Orleans.  

More information about Dr. Augustine can be found at   

Media contact: Associate Director of Public Relations Liz Murray,

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