Centre announces speakers for 2024 Commencement ceremonies

by Centre College News

Centre College News
2023 Commencement Ceremony

Former U.S. Ambassador to speak at commencement while history-making alumna to offer baccalaureate address.

Centre College is pleased to announce the Honorable Matthew Barzun as the 2024 Commencement speaker, a former U.S. ambassador and business leader.

This is the 201st Commencement ceremony for Centre, scheduled for May 19 at 10 a.m. in Newlin Hall at the Norton Center for the Arts. 

On Saturday, May 18, Centre will celebrate Baccalaureate with the Class of 2024 students and families. Rev. Kerry Mansir ‘99, the first woman to be ordained as priest at the historic Christ Church in Gardiner, Maine, will be the featured speaker. 

“We have two fantastic speakers for the 2024 Commencement weekend,” said Centre President Milton C. Moreland. “Matthew Barzun has lived experience as a change-making leader in the world, while Kerry Mansir has shown that Centre’s liberal arts and sciences education prepares students not just for their first job after graduation but for a lifetime of learning and service.” 

Matthew Barzun

Hon. Matthew Barzun will be the 2024 Commencement speaker at Centre College.

A Louisville, Kentucky, resident, Matthew Barzun is a media entrepreneur, author, and former diplomat, having served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom and previously, to Sweden.

 In the early 1990s, Barzun was an internet pioneer, serving in executive roles at CNET. He currently serves as chair and publisher of Tortoise Media, the London-based online news service he co-founded with the former Director of BBC News. He is also owner and publisher of Louisville Magazine. Additionally, Barzun authored “The Power of Giving Power Away: How the Best Leaders Learn to Let Go,” a book dedicated to showing how organizations thrive when leaders distribute power to build trust, creativity and inclusiveness. 

Matthew serves on the boards of National Public Radio, the National Constitution Center, and the Karsh Institute of Democracy, and has served on the boards of corporations and many non-profit organizations focused on education, civics, and interfaith relations, including Louisville Public Media. Matthew grew up in Lincoln, Massachusetts and resides in Louisville with his wife, Brooke, and, occasionally, their three college-aged children. He is a graduate of Harvard College.

“At a moment when the world dearly needs curiosity, bravery, and new energy, the Centre College class of ’24 arrives just in time,” Barzun said. “It will be a great honor to be part of this inspiring and transformative moment for them and their families, friends, and supporters.”

Learn more about Matthew Barzun: https://matthewbarzun.com/about/

Rev. Kerry Rhoads Mansir ‘99 

Rev. Kerry Rhoads Mansir '99 will be the 2024 Baccalaureate speaker.

Kerry Mansir graduated from Centre College in 1999. It was a transformative course at Centre that motivated Mansir to seek as much knowledge as she could about religion, joining the Episcopal Church during her time at the College. While studying to be a college professor at Harvard Divinity School, a different calling emerged.  After completing the Master of Theological Studies degree at HDS, she continued her studies at Bangor Theological Seminary and Church Divinity School of the Pacific over several years before being ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church in 2018.  She was the first woman ordained at the historic Christ Church, the oldest Episcopal Church in Maine.

With her degree, she was ordained as a deacon in 2016. Two years later, she was ordained as a priest, the first woman to earn the honor at the historic Christ Church — the oldest church in the state of Maine. 

“My career path had many turns, but from my first religion course at Centre College, I knew that the study of religion would be a huge part of my life. My experience at Centre was foundational to my calling as a teacher, pastor, and priest.  I look forward to sharing my gratitude and experiences with the Class of 2024.”



Be sure to visit the 2024 Commencement Headquarters for all up-to-date information, schedule of events and live stream.