Distinguished Alumnus/a Award
The Distinguished Alumnus/a Award is the highest honor bestowed upon an alumnus/a of St. Petersburg Catholic, Bishop Barry, Notre Dame Academy, and St. Paul’s high schools. The award is presented annually to a graduate whose life personifies the spirit and values St. Petersburg Catholic seeks to instill in its students. St. Petersburg Catholic High School established the award to honor individuals who demonstrate a commitment to faith, family, tradition, and excellence; who embody ethical leadership and compassionate service; who have demonstrated significant achievements in their chosen professions; and who have made significant contributions to society as volunteers, mentors, or benefactors.
Each year, we announce our Distinguished Alumnus/a at the Senior-Alumni Mass & Breakfast in May. Our Distinguished Alumnus/a is then invited to address the graduating class at our Commencement Ceremony.
Paul Reilly Named Distinguished Alumnus of St. Petersburg Catholic High School
(St. Petersburg, FL – May 15, 2019) Paul Reilly, a Class of 1972 graduate, has been named the 2019 Distinguished Alumnus of St. Petersburg Catholic High School, the school’s highest honor bestowed upon a member of the alumni community. Reilly is the second recipient of the award, the first being U.S. District Court Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich. Reilly will be announced at school’s Senior-Alumni Mass & Brunch, an event open to all alumni of the school, on Friday, May 17 at 8am. He will give the Commencement Address at the school’s Commencement Ceremony for the graduating Class of 2019 on Saturday, May 25 at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle.
Reilly is a graduate of Bishop Barry High School, which was established in 1957 as an all-boys school on the same footprint of St. Petersburg Catholic on 9th Avenue North. Bishop Barry and Notre Dame Academy, an all-girls school established in 1962, merged to become St. Petersburg Catholic High School in 1973. Reilly went on to pursue his studies at the University of Notre Dame, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree and MBA. He remains active with Notre Dame, serving on the Mendoza Graduate Alumni Board and the Business Advisory Council. In 2005, he was the recipient of Notre Dame’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. Reilly currently serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Raymond James Financial. Prior to this role, he served as Chairman and CEO / Executive Chairman of Korn/Ferry International and CEO of KPMG International.
We are honored to have Paul Reilly as our 2019 Distinguished Alumnus. Paul, in his commitment to Catholic education, faith, and passion for service, personifies our alumni community and the virtues we hope to instill in all of our students.
The Distinguished Alumnus/a Award is presented annually to an alumnus/a of St. Petersburg Catholic, Bishop Barry, Notre Dame Academy, and St. Paul high schools. St. Petersburg Catholic High School established the award to honor individuals who demonstrate a commitment to faith, family, tradition, and excellence; who embodies ethical leadership and compassionate service; who has demonstrated significant achievements in his/her chosen professions; and who has made significant contributions to society as a volunteer, a mentor, or a benefactor.
In January, the school renamed one of its recently renovated classroom buildings to Reilly Family Bishop Barry Hall, in honor of a leadership gift from Reilly and his wife, Rose. The renovation of the original buildings, built in 1957, included twenty classrooms, eight departmental offices, new bathrooms, a new student courtyard, and a new student chapel.
To learn more about St. Petersburg Catholic High School, visit www.spchs.org.
2018 Award Recipient
U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich
Class of 1954, St. Paul's High School
Judge Kovachevich is a 1954 alumna of St. Paul’s High School, which was established in 1930 by the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany. From St. Paul’s, Bishop Barry High School and Notre Dame Academy merged to become St. Petersburg Catholic High School in 1973. Judge Kovachevich graduated valedictorian from St. Paul’s High School (1954) and St. Petersburg Junior College (1956), then went on to major in finance at the University of Miami (1958), where she graduated magna cum laude with a BBA degree. She received her juris doctor degree from Stetson University College of Law (1961) after finishing second in her class. She was the only female in her graduating law school class.
In 1972, Judge Kovachevich became the first female judge elected to serve as a Circuit Judge for the Sixth Judicial Circuit in and for Pinellas and Pasco Counties, Florida. She served in various judicial divisions over nine years, including a special assignment to the District Court of Appeal. In January 1982, President Ronald Reagan nominated her to an open district court vacancy for the Middle District of Florida. After the Senate confirmed her nomination, she received her judicial commission on March 9, 1982, and was sworn in on March 12, 1982. Judge Kovachevich has served as a U.S. District Judge for over 35 years and is the longest serving district judge still in active service for the Middle District of Florida.
“We are honored to have Judge Kovachevich as our first Distinguished Alumna, as we begin this new tradition at St. Pete Catholic,” Principal Ross Bubolz said. “Judge Kovachevich, in her commitment to faith and passion for service, personifies our alumni community and the virtues we hope to instill in all of our students.”