The remarks by Ben Kessler, a well-known student recently honored by peers and faculty as Tommie of the Year, led to catcalls and boos during commencement at the Catholic university in St. Paul. Others booed those who were booing. Some students walked out on their own graduation ceremony.
Kessler was a defensive tackle on the St. Thomas football team and had a 4.0 grade-point average. He majored in philosophy and business, was an undergraduate seminarian at the university and plans to become a Roman Catholic priest.
"It takes a tough person to play football," Kessler said in a Pioneer Press profile last fall. "Well, what kind of priests do we want to have? We want someone who is internally strong and externally strong. That's the kind of priest who can change society." Pioneer Press