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Sunday, May 20, 2018, 4:00 p.m.*
Packer Memorial Church

Led by University Chaplain Lloyd Steffen, the Baccalaureate program includes outstanding choral music and a presentation or “farewell address” by a person of high distinction to graduating seniors.  The original Baccalaureate ceremony dates back to the 14th Century where it was held at Oxford University.

The Baccalaureate service lasts one hour and begins with a musical prelude slightly before 4:00 p.m.  Students representing different religious traditions participate in the program.  Past notes of appreciation received from parents, guests, and students indicate that the service has been a meaningful part of the Commencement activities. 

Stephen R. Prothero, chair of the department of religion at Boston University, will present the address to the graduating class at the 2018 Baccalaureate ceremony.  Prothero was the chief academic adviser for the critically acclaimed six-hour WGBH-TV series, God in America.  He has worked as a senior fellow at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.

A historian of American religions, he has published six books and has been a resource to television media outlets including The Colbert Report, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The O’Reilly Factor, and The Today Show. He is also a contributor to CNN’s Belief Blog. 

He regularly provides commentary on religion and has written for a variety of publications including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Newsweek, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Boston Globe.

Prothero received his bachelor of arts degree in American Studies from Yale and his doctorate in religion from Harvard

*The service is standing room only. In recent years, speakers have been placed on the patio in front of the church because of the crowd. To be assured a seat, please arrive early.


Lehigh University's Baccalaureate Speakers since 1991


Dr. Stephen Prothero, C. Allyn and Elizabeth V. Russell Professor of Religion at Boston University
Lehigh News Article

Lloyd Steffen, Walead Mosaad, and Stephen Prothero 
Baccalaureate Service Address given by Dr. Stephen Prothero 
Recorded at Packer Memorial Church, May 20, 2018: AUDIO LINK


Dr. John L. Esposito, Professor of Religion, Georgetown University
Lehigh News Article

Lloyd Steffen, John Esposito, and Danielle Stillman 
Baccalaureate Service Address given by Dr. John L. Espositio 
Recorded at Packer Memorial Church, May 21, 2017: 


Dr. Charles Johnson, author and professor emeritus at the University of Washington
Lehigh News Article

Lloyd Steffen, Charles R. Johnson and Danielle Stillman 
Baccalaureate Service Address given by Dr. Charles R. Johnson 
Recorded at Packer Memorial Church, May 22, 2016: AUDIO LINK.  


Dr. Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History, Columbia University
Lehigh News Article

Eric Foner and Lloyd Steffen 
Baccalaureate Service Address given by Dr. Eric Foner 
Recorded at Packer Memorial Church, May 17, 2015: AUDIO LINK.  


Professor Arvind Sharma, McGill University
Lehigh News Article

Arvind Sharma, Lloyd Steffen and Danielle Stillman


James Carroll, author, journalist, historian
Lehigh News Article

James Carroll and Lloyd Steffen
James Carroll and Lloyd Steffen


Jody Williams, 1997 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
Lehigh News Article

Jody Williams and Lloyd Steffen


Professor Rosemary Radford Ruether, Claremont University
Lehigh News Article


Dr. Daniel Callahan, Hastings Center and Yale University

Lehigh News Article


Professor Wendy Doniger, University of Chicago

Lehigh News Article


Tenzin Robert Thurman, Columbia University

Lehigh News Article


Professor Harvey Cox, Harvard Divinity School


Rt. Rev. John Shelby Spong, Episcopal Diocese of Newark (ret.)


Dean William A. Graham, Harvard Divinity School


Professor Mark Jeurgensmeyer, U California, Santa Barbara


Professor Martha Nussbaum, University of Chicago


Professor Diana Eck, Harvard University


Dr. Rebecca Chopp, Provost, Emory University


Professor Tu Wei Ming, Harvard University


Rev. Dr. Lloyd Ogilvie, Chaplain, U.S. Senate


Professor David Tracy, University of Chicago


Professor Peter Paris, Princeton Theological Seminary


Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr, George Washington University


Rev. Will Willimon, University Chaplain, Duke University


Professor Phyllis Trible, Union Theological Seminary


Dean Robert C. Neville, Boston University


Professor Cornel West, Princeton University


Rev. James Forbes, Riverside Church, New York, NY