Originally created 05/08/99

Paine ready for Tutu, graduation

Paine College this year has served as host to U.S. Army generals, television executives and world-wide motivational speakers. On Sunday, the prominent appearances continue.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is the featured speaker at the college's commencement, where 110 students will receive degrees.

The ceremony is scheduled for 3 p.m. in the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center and is free and open to the public.

Dr. Shirley A.R. Lewis, president of Paine College, said her school is deeply honored that Mr. Tutu accepted her invitation.

"He usually reserves Sundays as a time of reflection," Dr. Lewis said of Mr. Tutu. "He is obviously a great man; he could be anywhere in the world but he knows how important his presence is to my sons and daughters at Paine."

Dr. Lewis said Mr. Tutu is the most internationally recognized guest to ever speak at the school.

"This will be a great day for Paine and the community," she said.

Mr. Tutu, the retired archbishop 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, Mr. Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.

From 1995 to 1998, he chaired South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which investigated human-rights violations committed during the apartheid regime.

For the past year, Mr. Tutu has served as the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta.

Before Mr. Tutu, Paine has welcomed other prominent people, including: retired U.S. Gen. Colin Powell; motivational speaker Les Brown; Michael Jordan, CEO of CBS; and Durk I. Jager, president and CEO of Procter & Gamble.

"We invite people who have made a difference in the world," Dr. Lewis said. "We are especially pleased when they are in the faith."

Paine is a church-related school supported partly by the United Methodist Church and the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.

Faith Johnson covers education. She can be reached at (706) 823-3765 or faithj@augustachronicle.com.


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