The pursuit for speaker begins


The Office of Academic Affairs has announced the search for candidates for commencement speakers and recipients for this year’s honorary degree. The office invited the Loyola community to send nominations for the commencement speaker and the honorary degree recipient.

Nominations were due Oct. 11 to Elizabeth Kordahl, executive assistant to the provost, or to the honorary degree committee. Kordahl said any member of the Loyola community including faculty, staff, students and alumni could contribute nominations for the honorary degree and commencement speaker.

The Rev. Kevin Wildes, S.J., university president, said that the honorary degree winners all in some way represent something about Loyola.

“I look for connections between us and the person and what they’ve done,” Wildes said.

Kordahl said the honorary degree is given to an individual who is recognized for exceptional achievements, including academic excellence, the pursuit of faith and justice and service to others. Kordahl said nominations are submitted to the Office of the Provost and then sent to the Honorary Degrees Committee, comprised of faculty, staff, and student representatives, for consideration. Political science senior Antonio Carriere said he wants Judge Greg Mathis to be the honorary degree recipient and the commencement speaker for his graduation.

“I one day hope to be half as good of a judge as he is,” Carriere said.

Kordahl said Wildes reviews the recommendations from the Honorary Degree Committee and then forwards the nominations to the Board of Trustees for approval.

The president makes the final selection of commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients from the approved nominations, Kordahl said.

“The president also extends the invitations and discusses interest and availability with prospective honorees,” Kordahl said.

Wildes said the recipient of the honor degree ought to be in some cases considered an icon of the university.

“The people we honor ought to represent something that we aspire to, that we value,” Wildes said.

The commencement speaker would most likely be announced in the first half of the spring semester, Kordahl said. Past winners of the honorary degree were Dean Baquet in May 2013, Drew Brees in May 2010, and Gov. Bobby Jindal in May 2009.

“I just hope we have someone who is very inspirational and has done things for the community,” Carriere said.

Burke Bischoff can be reached at [email protected]