Centre College’s 195th Commencement will take place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 20, in Newlin Hall of the Norton Center for the Arts. The 2018 graduation exercises will begin with the Baccalaureate ceremony, which will take place in the same location at 11 a.m. that morning.
The Class of 2018, the largest graduating class in Centre’s history, features an expected 333 graduates, including potential summer graduates, hailing from three foreign countries—China, India and Vietnam—and 34 American states. Collectively, the class boasts an expected four-year graduation rate of 82 percent, with the five top declared majors including economics and finance, international studies, biology, history and psychology.
During their four years at Centre, a total of 85 percent of the class also studied abroad, contributing to the College’s #3 national ranking for global study by the Institute of International Education.
Again this year, the Commencement and Baccalaureate ceremonies will stream live on Centre’s website. A link to the streaming video is available on the Commencement Headquarters page. The live stream will be accessible through nearly all operating systems and browsers on all types of devices.
Baccalaureate 2018 | Sunday, May 20 at 11 a.m.
Richard D. (Rick) Axtell, H. W. Stodghill Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Religion and College chaplain, will give the baccalaureate sermon prior to Centre’s 195th Commencement.
Axtell initially taught at Centre during 1992-93 and returned to the college in 1995. He was named a Centre Scholar in 2003 and 2008, and received the Kirk Award for excellence in teaching in 2000 and 2015. In 2012, he was included in The Princeton Review’s “Best 300 Professors.”
Concerned about issues of hunger and homelessness, he has served as director of Louisville United Against Hunger and also was a case manager working with homeless men through the St. Vincent DePaul Society.
Axtell’s travels in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Mexico, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Serbia and Thailand have informed his teaching on issues of hunger, human trafficking, sustainable development and peacemaking.
In 2006, he taught in the UNESCO International M.A. Program in Peace and Development Studies at Universitat Jaume I in Castellon, Spain.
Recent research includes employment trends for day laborers in Louisville’s homeless population and interviews with public housing residents who were relocated in Louisville’s HOPE VI housing redevelopment. He is the co-author of “The Other Side of HOPE: Squandering Social Capital in Louisville’s HOPE VI,” published in Journal of Poverty in 2015. Axtell is also the co-editor of “Ethics as if Jesus Mattered: Essays in Honor of Glen H. Stassen” (Smyth & Helwys, 2015).
Axtell has also studied liberation theology and religion and violence in Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua. His articles on the topic of religion and violence have appeared in the Encyclopedia of Religion and War, as well as The Merton Annual.
At Centre, he has led multiple study abroad trips to Cuba, England, Mexico and Nicaragua.
Axtell holds a B.A. degree from Mississippi College. He earned M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and has completed other advanced studies at the University of Notre Dame.
Commencement 2018 | Sunday, May 20 at 3 p.m.
The featured address at this year’s Commencement will be given by The Rev. Dr. Robert M. Franklin Jr., the inaugural James T. and Berta R. Laney Chair in Moral Leadership at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University.
Franklin also serves as a senior advisor to Emory President Claire E. Sterk, supporting community and diversity efforts.
Franklin was a high school senior in 1968 in Chicago when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, and he chose to attend King’s alma mater, Morehouse College, for his undergraduate education.
After graduating from Morehouse, with a major in political science, Franklin earned a master of divinity degree from Harvard and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.
He later returned to Morehouse to lead the institution, serving as the tenth president from 2007 to 2012.
The author of three books, Franklin was also director of the Chautauqua Institution religion program until last year, and he served as a program officer in human rights and social justice at the Ford Foundation, advising the foundation president on issues of religion and public life.
Among the many national boards on which he has served, Franklin is currently focused on expanding LGBTQ equality and inclusion efforts at Historically Black Colleges and Universities as a member of a Human Rights Campaign’s project council.
For his four decades of advocacy for moral leadership, the Harvard Divinity School recently recognized Franklin with the 2018 Peter J. Gomes STB ’68 Memorial Honor.
As part of Centre’s Commencement ceremony, the College will award Franklin an honorary degree.
In addition, Kentucky native Stephen Bright will also receive an honorary degree in recognition of his many accomplishments, notably as president of the Southern Center for Human Rights.
All seats for Commencement are by ticket only.
Follow the Commencement weekend conversation—and contribute your own photos—on social media with #CentreGrad18.
by Centre College News
May 17, 2018