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Seigenthaler to Speak at Commencement


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Seigenthaler to Speak at Commencement

John Seigenthaler Sr. Photo courtesy Freedom Forum. Click for high-resolution image.

John Seigenthaler Sr. will address Stetson University College of Law’s commencement ceremony on Dec. 18 at 1 p.m. in the outdoor courtyard on the College’s Gulfport campus, 1401 61st St. S.

Ninety-one J.D. students are expected to walk at Stetson Law’s commencement, including 22 students from the part-time program and five students from the J.D./M.B.A. program. Seven students will receive an LL.M. in elder law, and one student will receive an LL.M. in international law.

Seigenthaler is an award-winning journalist who also played a pivotal role in Robert Kennedy’s Justice Department. Seigenthaler was the founding editorial director  of USA Today and long-time editor of The Tennessean. His civil rights work led to his service as chief negotiator with the governor of Alabama during the Freedom Rides. During that crisis, he was attacked by a mob while attempting to aid Freedom Riders in Montgomery, Ala. Rip Patton, one of the original Freedom Riders, will also be honored at Stetson’s commencement ceremony, receiving an honorary law degree.

Seigenthaler’s work with civil rights has spanned his career. In 1969, he supported Tennessee Bishop Joseph Aloysius Durick’s fight against segregation. In 1991, he founded the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University.  Vanderbilt later renamed the building that houses the Freedom Forum, First Amendment Center, and Diversity Institute the John Seigenthaler Center.

Seigenthaler has received the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Colby College. He hosts the television program “A War on Words,” and chairs the selections committees for the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation’s Profile in Courage Award and the RFK Memorial’s Robert F. Kennedy Book Awards.