Paine College seniors will learn their last lesson from a Nobel Laureate.
Former Archbishop Desmond Tutu will speak at the college's commencement May 9, Paine officials announced Friday.
Mr. Tutu, the retired bishop of Cape Town, South Africa, was a leader of the struggle to end apartheid in that nation.
Apartheid is a political system based upon racial segregation and discrimination. For his efforts to end its practice in South Africa, Mr. Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.
From 1995 to 1998, Mr. Tutu chaired South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which investigated human-rights violations committed during the apartheid regime.
For the past year, he has served as the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta.
Paine faculty and students raved about his upcoming speech Friday.
"We're extremely excited about this, and deeply honored," said Shirley A.R. Lewis, the college's president. "We invite the Augusta community to join us for what will certainly be the highlight of the academic year for 1999."
Mr. Tutu had been on Paine officials' wish list of possible speakers for several years, Dr. Lewis said.
"He's been in the United States for a little more than a year, so that perhaps made it more of a possibility," she said.
Some students said the announcement was indicative of positive changes afoot at the historically black college.
"Paine College is on the move, so I can't say that I'm very surprised," said Jereto Henderson, a junior majoring in math and math education. "We are doing a lot of great things here."
The commencement ceremony, scheduled to be held at 3 p.m. in the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center, will be free and open to the public, Dr. Lewis said.
Mr. Tutu will be in Augusta for the National Day of Prayer.
Brandon Haddock can be reached at (706) 823-3409 or firstname.lastname@example.org.