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Baccalaureate

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

2017
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: 
AUDIO LINK.

 

2016
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.  

 

2015  
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.  

 

2014
Professor Arvind Sharma, McGill University
Lehigh News Article


Arvind Sharma, Lloyd Steffen and Danielle Stillman

 

2013
James Carroll, author, journalist, historian
Lehigh News Article

James Carroll and Lloyd Steffen
James Carroll and Lloyd Steffen

 

2012
Jody Williams, 1997 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
Lehigh News Article


Jody Williams and Lloyd Steffen
 

 

2011
Professor Rosemary Radford Ruether, Claremont University
Lehigh News Article

 

2010
Dr. Daniel Callahan, Hastings Center and Yale University

Lehigh News Article

 

2009
Professor Wendy Doniger, University of Chicago

Lehigh News Article

 

2008
Tenzin Robert Thurman, Columbia University

Lehigh News Article

 

2007
Professor Harvey Cox, Harvard Divinity School

 

2006
Rt. Rev. John Shelby Spong, Episcopal Diocese of Newark (ret.)

 

2005
Dean William A. Graham, Harvard Divinity School

 

2004
Professor Mark Jeurgensmeyer, U California, Santa Barbara

 

2003
Professor Martha Nussbaum, University of Chicago

 

2002
Professor Diana Eck, Harvard University

 

2001
Dr. Rebecca Chopp, Provost, Emory University

 

2000
Professor Tu Wei Ming, Harvard University

 

1999
Rev. Dr. Lloyd Ogilvie, Chaplain, U.S. Senate

 

1998
Professor David Tracy, University of Chicago

 

1997
Professor Peter Paris, Princeton Theological Seminary

 

1996
Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr, George Washington University

 

1995
Rev. Will Willimon, University Chaplain, Duke University

 

1994
Professor Phyllis Trible, Union Theological Seminary

 

1993
Dean Robert C. Neville, Boston University

 

1992
Professor Cornel West, Princeton University

 

1991
Rev. James Forbes, Riverside Church, New York, NY