Civil rights leader and Georgia Congressman John Lewis will help welcome the Marquette University class of 2018 at New Student Convocation Wednesday, Aug. 20. Before providing the keynote address at the event, Rep. Lewis will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree, in recognition of his courageous leadership for civil rights and years of public service.
The honorary degree will be conferred by Marquette President Michael R. Lovell, who will also officially welcome the freshman class at Convocation, which will be the last time the entire class is together until their graduation in 2018. The next day, as part of New Student Orientation, freshmen will gather in small groups to discuss Rep. Lewis’ March: Book One, which they read this summer as part of the First Year Reading Program.
Rep. Lewis is nationally recognized for his tireless efforts on the issues of race relations, poverty and the problems that plague cities. He first joined the civil rights movement as a seminary student in Nashville, organizing sit-ins and participating in the first Freedom Rides, which challenged illegal segregation at bus stations across the south. His leadership was quickly identified, and he became the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and one of the “Big Six” national leaders of the movement, alongside such figures as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and A. Philip Randolph.
Due to seating capacity, New Student Convocation is not open to the public. Space for family members of first-year students will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. The event will begin at 7 p.m. in the Al McGuire Center, 770 N. 12th St., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m.