444 Graduates Hear from Cornel West

444 Graduates Hear from Cornel West

May 18, 1996

Cornel West 1996 Grads.jpgMay 18, 1996, Greencastle, Ind. - "To overcome the political lethargy, the fatalism, the pessimism, the cynicism that seems so fashionable and faddish these days, more than anything else we need something profoundly unAmerican: a sense of history," Cornel West told DePauw University's Class of 1996 today. The author and professor of religion and African-American studies at Harvard University delivered the keynote speech at today's commencement ceremony.

A total of 444 undergraduates received their degrees in the shadow of historic East College. West was recognized with an honorary Doctor of Letters degree. Robert H. Giles '55, editor and publisher of the Detroit News, received an honorary Doctor of Journalism degree.

In his address, West urged DePauw's newest graduates to confront evil in the world. In a century scarred by the damage and destruction perpetrated by Nazi Germany, Stalinism, European colonialism and racism in the United States, West said the Class of 1996 must face "two fatal viruses": poverty and paranoia.

Forty-three members of the class were elected into Phi Beta Kappa, the national 1996 grads.jpgscholastic honorary fraternity for liberal arts students. Five became members of Pi Kappa Lambda, a scholastic and musical honorary for music students.

There were 57 graduates of DePauw's honors programs: eight Media Fellows, 10 Honor Scholars, 14 Science Research Fellows and 25 Management Fellows.

Cornel West spoke at DePauw in February 1994. A summary of his address can be found in this previous story.