Two speakers will participate in Centre’s commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 19.
The Rev. Canon Naomi Tutu will give the baccalaureate sermon at 11 a.m. She is the daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Her son, Mpilo Ngomane, is in the graduating class.
Stuart Sanders, a 1995 Centre graduate and the history advocate for the Kentucky Historical Society, will give Centre’s bicentennial commencement address at 3 p.m.
Centre received its charter from the Kentucky legislature on Jan. 21, 1819. Approximately 332 students will graduate in the historic Class of 2019.
Tutu, who grew up black and female in apartheid South Africa, has spent her life as an activist for human rights. Her professional experience ranges from being a development consultant in West Africa to being program coordinator for programs on race and gender and gender-based violence in education at the African Gender Institute at the University of Cape Town. She has also taught at the universities of Hartford and Connecticut and at Brevard College in North Carolina, and she has been program coordinator for the Race Relations Institute at Fisk University in Tennessee.
A graduate of Berea College, she did not attend divinity school until she was in her 50s. In 2016, she received an M.Div. from Vanderbilt Divinity School. She also holds a diploma in Anglican studies from Virginia Theological Seminary. She was ordained in the Episcopal Church in 2017. Since 2018, she has been canon missioner at the Cathedral of All Souls, in Asheville, N.C., a role that seeks to transform unjust societal structures.
In his role as the Kentucky Historical Society’s history advocate, Sanders communicates the value and relevance of our past to the general public. He has written for a large number of magazines, journals, and anthologies, and his op-eds and guest columns about Kentucky history have appeared in more than 50 newspapers across the region.
His first book, Perryville Under Fire: The Aftermath of Kentucky’s Largest Civil War Battle, examines how Centre College contended with hundreds of wounded and sick soldiers after the Battle of Perryville. His fourth book, The Ohio Belle Murder, looks at violence, Southern honor culture, and vigilante justice through the lens of the steamboat Ohio Belle. It will be published by the University Press of Kentucky in early 2020.
He is the former executive director of the Perryville Battlefield Preservation Association, a nonprofit organization that preserved and interpreted Kentucky’s largest Civil War battleground.
by Diane Johnson
May 6, 2019