2019 Speakers

Undergraduate Speaker: James Martin, S.J

James Martin, S.J., will receive an honorary doctorate and speak at our undergraduate commencement ceremony. Father Martin is Editor-at-Large of America, the national Jesuit magazine, and the author of more than a dozen books including multiple New York Times bestsellers. He has also written articles for a number of national publications and is a frequent commentator on religion and spirituality for major national and international news outlets. Fr. Martin has worked in hospitals, housing projects and community centers and has ministered to refugees in the U.S. and other countries.

Undergraduate Speaker: P. José Alberto Idiaquez, S.J

The second honorary doctorate we will confer at this year’s undergraduate commencement will be given to P. José Alberto Idiaquez, S.J. Father “Chepe,” as he is known, is president of the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) in Managua, Nicaragua. Seattle University shares a special, longstanding relationship with Father Chepe and UCA, which was formalized by a partnership agreement in 2014. An accomplished scholar and academic leader, Fr. Chepe has also done fieldwork with indigenous and marginalized communities in Honduras, Panama and Nicaragua. Since the Nicaraguan government’s crackdown on its own people began last spring, Fr. Chepe has stood up for those suffering persecution. He is a voice for justice, a beacon of hope and an agent for peace.

Graduate Speaker: Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ

A world-renowned advocate for justice, Sister Prejean has been instrumental in shaping the Catholic Church’s position on capital punishment. Her ministry to death row inmates and her interactions with their families, victims and other prisoners led her to founding Survive, an organization dedicated to counseling families of victims of violence. Her book Dead Man Walking, an account of her prison ministry, became a bestseller and was adapted into an award-winning film.