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Cardinal, laypeople honored for aid to Catholic education

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ARLINGTON, Va. -- A cardinal and five laypeople will be honored for their significant contributions to Catholic education during the 21st annual Seton Awards ceremony Oct. 3 in Washington.

The National Catholic Educational Association's President's Award will go to John Convey, a professor of education and former provost at The Catholic University of America, while five others will receive the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award, named for the first native-born American saint.

Convey, whose professional work focuses on research and strategic planning for Catholic schools, has conducted studies for 14 archdioceses or dioceses in the past 28 years and is currently assisting the Archdiocese of New Orleans with a study of its Catholic schools.

He has written, co-written or edited eight books and numerous articles on Catholic education.

The Seton Award recipients are:

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-- Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, who established the Board of Catholic Schools to encourage greater support and leadership for the archdiocese's 215 elementary and 40 secondary schools and who earmarks more than one-third of the funds raised in his annual appeal for education.

-- Joseph E. Robert Jr., founder of a private commercial real estate investment and asset management firm who also founded and chairs Fight for Children, a Washington-based philanthropic organization whose mission is to create, promote and invest in K-12 education opportunities that successfully prepare children for college and the workplace.

-- Pleasant Rowland, creator of the American Girls Collection of historically accurate books, dolls and accessories. She retired from American Girl in 2000 and formed foundations to promote the arts, education and historic preservation and to bring a new edition of the Superkids reading program back to primary-grade classrooms.

-- Warren and Mary Lynn Staley, whose charitable endeavors have included support for Opportunity International, an organization made up of microfinance institutions that serve the poor; the Center for Leadership Studies at Kansas State University, their alma mater; and Benilde-St. Margaret's School, a Catholic college-preparatory school in St. Louis Park, Minn. The couple also volunteers with Habitat for Humanity in St. Paul-Minneapolis, Mexico and South Africa.

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