Deirdre Dessingue  ’68

Deirdre Dessingue, a member of the St. Mary High School Class of 1968, graduated summa cum laude from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC in 1972.  She graduated from the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University in 1975, having served as a member of its Law Review.  For five years immediately after graduating law school she worked in the Tax Exempt Organizations Division of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) National Office in Washington, DC.


Deirdre recently retired after serving for 32 years in the Office of General Counsel at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in Washington, DC.  In that position, she was the principal advisor, representative, and spokesperson on tax matters for the Roman Catholic Church in the United States.  As Associate General Counsel, Deirdre regularly counseled bishops and other ecclesiastical leaders and diocesan attorneys on a variety of issues involving tax and corporate matters.


From 2001 to 2005, Deirdre was a member of the IRS Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities for which her contributions were recognized with the IRS Commissioner's Award. For ten years she served as co-chair of the Religious Organizations Subcommittee of the American Bar Association's (ABA) Tax Section’s Exempt Organizations Committee. During 2012-13, Deirdre served on both the religious sector and legal expert panels that advised the Evangelical Council on Fiscal Accountability (ECFA) Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations. Deirdre was the 2014 recipient of the ABA Vanguard Award for lifetime achievement in the field of nonprofit law.


Deirdre is widely recognized as an authority on tax issues involving churches.  She has mentored a generation of attorneys desiring to represent nonprofit organizations.  Her wisdom and judgment are prized both within and outside the Church.


Saint Mary High School

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William Joseph Schneider

Edward Fugit

Sr. Alice Cardillo

Michael E. Loreti

Saint Mary High School

64 Chestnut St, Rutherford, NJ 07070

Phone: 201-933-5220 | Fax: 201-933-0834

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