COLCHESTER, Vt., April 11, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The 2018 Commencement speaker at Saint Michael’s College on May 13 at 10 a.m. in the Ross Sports Center will be New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, whose leadership in the removal of Confederate monuments last year led to his powerful and nationally acclaimed speech about the matter a year ago. Landrieu learned recently that he will be honored for those efforts with the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award later in May.

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Also receiving honorary degrees at Commencement in this 175th anniversary year of the Society of St. Edmund (Saint Michael’s College’s founding religious order), will be the Rev. Joseph McLaughlin, SSE, a former Saint Michael’s trustee and professor who also was Edmundite Superior General from 1986 to 1991; and Patricia McGuire, president of Trinity Washington University since 1989 and a dedicated champion for educating low-income black, Latino and immigrant Washington women.

“The College is pleased to have three honorary degree recipients who reflect the Edmundite commitment to a fair and just society for all, rooted in service to others and faith,” said Saint Michael’s President John J. Neuhauser, articulating a Commencement theme that connects the degree recipients. “One honoree, a son of Charlestown and an Edmundite and longtime teacher at the College who led the Edmundites during a period of change and consolidation; another a devoted college leader who turned a college of privilege to an amazing conduit whose mission is to provide lives of fulfillment for a disenfranchised, neglected population in Washington, DC; and a mayor with long, deep roots in the South who spoke eloquently and bravely of the need to say the truth about our country’s past.  All three embody the Edmundite spirit of humble service to others and they each make this College proud to name them graduates.”

About Mitch Landrieu

Mitch Landrieu is a politician and lawyer who became Mayor of New Orleans in 2010. He attended that city’s Jesuit High School, which he has said instilled in him a sense of self-discipline and a commitment to service. He graduated in 1978 and attended Washington D.C.’s Catholic University of America, where he majored in political science and theatre (and had as a mentor Rev. Gilbert Harke OP, a Dominican priest, director and playwright who also had a close connection to Saint Michael’s Playhouse founders Don and Joanne Rathgeb). Landrieu then went on to Loyola University Law School where he received a juris doctorate. Landrieu taught at Loyola Law and engaged in legal practice in the city.

Politics runs in Landrieu’s family: he is the son of a former New Orleans Mayor and the brother of Louisiana’s U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu. In 1987 he was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives, and for 16 years he held the seat held by his father and sister before him.

During his terms as lieutenant governor, Landrieu made a priority of increasing his state’s capacity for disaster response and homeland security. Landrieu also serves as his state’s CEO for the Department for Culture, Recreation, and Tourism. He says that his approach to public service is “based around five core governing principles: diversity as a strength, not a weakness; economic diversification and expansion; working regionally to compete globally; adding value to raw material, native talent and intellectual capital; and setting goals to international standards, not the southern average.”

In 2009, Landrieu became a supporter of the Jazz Foundation of America. He presented Agnes Varis with the “Saint of the Century” Award at the Jazz Foundation of America’s annual benefit concert in support of Varis’s and the Jazz Foundation’s work to help save jazz musicians, especially those affected by Hurricane Katrina.

In May 2017, Landrieu gave a speech regarding race relations in defense of his removal of statues in New Orleans honoring Confederate generals and soldiers, leading the push to remove the monuments after nine members of a historic African American congregation in Charleston, S.C. were fatally shot by a white supremacist, promoting a national reckoning with Confederate imagery in the modern day.

In a powerful speech that received national attention for its eloquence, Landrieu called for people to unify behind a shared future, saying, “We have not erased history; we are becoming part of the city’s history by righting the wrong image these monuments represent and crafting a better, more complete future for all our children and for future generations.” Landrieu is author of the recently published book “In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History” (Penguin/Random House), which centers on the statue controversy. Another Saint Michael’s connection for the mayor is that the mayor’s office’s current communications director is alumnus Tyronne Walker, Saint Michael’s Class of 2005 and former Student Association president.

Landrieu will be awarded the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award on May 20 at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, The Kennedy Library Foundation announced in late March.

More on Saint Michael’s Commencement Weekend: Baccalaureate will be Saturday, May 12, 2018 in the Chapel of Saint Michael’s the Archangel. Tickets for Commencement in the Ross Sports Center are required. Live broadcasts can be seen on closed-circuit large screens in McCarthy Arts Center (no tickets required, air conditioned).

About Saint Michael’s College
Saint Michael’s College, founded in the great Catholic intellectual tradition, which also recognizes the principles of social justice and compassion, is a selective, fully residential Catholic college in Vermont’s beautiful Green Mountains. Our closely connected community delivers internationally-respected liberal arts and graduate education near Burlington, one of the country’s best college towns. To prepare for fulfilling careers and meaningful lives, young adults here grow intellectually, socially, and morally, learning to be responsible for themselves, each other and their world.

For more information, contact: 
Mark Tarnacki
802.654.2795
mtarnacki@smcvt.edu

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