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HomeCommentaryDesmond Tutu to speak at Gonzaga commencement

Desmond Tutu to speak at Gonzaga commencement

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Nobel Laureate Desmond M. Tutu, archbishop emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa, will be the keynote speaker at Gonzaga University's senior commencement May 13.

Tutu has been a voice for justice, peace, truth and reconciliation throughout his ministry. He retired from public life in 2010 but accepted Gonzaga's invitation after being inspired by the global activism of Gonzaga's students, faculty and alumni, he said.

“I am always inspired and awed by the idealism and altruism of young people. I was swept off my feet at the projects they described in the [Gonzaga students magazine] . So I am honoured to accept your kind invitation . . . to share in your 125thyear celebrations and 2012 Commencement exercises,” Tutu wrote.

Tutu retired as archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa in 1996. In 2010, the Archbishop Emeritus announced he would limit his public appearances to spend more time with family. He is scheduled to speak during graduation at 10 a.m., May 13 in the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.

Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh will present Tutu with Gonzaga's honorary Doctor of Laws degree at the ceremony.

Admission is by invitation-only to ensure adequate space for Gonzaga's graduating seniors and their families.

McCulloh said he is delighted to welcome Archbishop Tutu to Spokane as part of Gonzaga's125thAnniversary celebration. McCulloh, in his correspondence with the archbishop, recalled his time as a Gonzaga undergraduate as Tutu and Nelson Mandela waged a South African anti-apartheid battle on the world stage.

“As an undergraduate during the mid-1980s, I was actively involved with our own campus efforts against apartheid in South Africa,” McCulloh wrote. “Many of us watched your tireless efforts from half a world away and were overjoyed when you received the Nobel Prize for Peace. Years later, my awareness of that time led me to visit Cape Town as part of our recent efforts to connect our students with opportunities for study abroad in Africa.”

McCulloh described Tutu as “a living exemplar of Gonzaga's historic commitment to the ideals of equality and a free society as a Catholic, Jesuit and humanistic University,” McCulloh said.

“We are honored and humbled thatArchbishop Tutu has chosen to be with us and our graduates for Commencement.He is certainlyamong the most prominent moral icons of our time.”

Tracy Simmons
Tracy Simmons
Tracy Simmons is an award-winning journalist specializing in religion reporting and digital entrepreneurship. In her approximate 20 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti. Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas, Connecticut and Washington. She is the executive director of FāVS.News, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Washington. She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and national publications. She is a Scholarly Assistant Professor of Journalism at Washington State University.

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jcastrol
jcastrol
12 years ago

He do we get in to this? It would be amazing to hear him in person. He is a mentor for my ministry.

Tracy
Tracy
12 years ago

Unfortunately because of limited space, it’s only open to graduates and their guests…

Spokane’s Religion News Roundup: Feb. 24 | S
Spokane’s Religion News Roundup: Feb. 24 | S
12 years ago

[…] of Catholics, Gonzaga made big news last week when the university announcedArchbishop Desmond Tutu (not a Catholic) would be the keynote speaker for the undergraduate commencement ceremony in May. But you better be attached to a graduate if you […]

Tracy
Tracy
12 years ago

I don’t know, but SpokaneFAVS will be there and will have lots of stuff to post!

tmccallen
tmccallen
12 years ago

Will Gonzaga tape & release/post the remarks?

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