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Nationally recognized Jesuit to deliver May commencement speech

James Martin, S.J.Creighton President the Rev. Daniel Hendrickson, S.J., announced earlier this month that the Rev. James Martin, S.J., would be this year’s afternoon commencement speaker at the University’s ceremony on May 14.

Considered one of the nation’s most recognizable Jesuits, Fr. Martin has entertained and inspired thousands of Catholic and non-Catholics alike. He has received many honorary degrees from universities across the country including honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees (D.D.) from Regis College in Toronto and Wagner College in New York, as well as 10 Doctor of Humane Letters degrees from Marquette University, Saint Joseph’s University, Santa Clara University, Saint Louis University, and Wheeling Jesuit University, among others.

A nationally and internationally accomplished Jesuit priest, writer, and commentator, Fr. Martin has provided sharp thinking, pointed discussion, and compassionate response to a broad range of issues related to the Catholic Church and society. He is a 1982 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and worked in corporate finance at General Electric for six years. In 1988, he left the business world and entered the Society of Jesus. He was ordained a priest in 1999.

“In the spirit of the Jesuit charisms of prayerful discernment and service to others, Fr. Martin’s influence is both expansive and genuine, and it is enhanced by persistent and popular use of social media,” Fr. Hendrickson said. “With humor, currency, and freshness, his message to our graduates at commencement will represent the values of Catholic higher learning in the Jesuit tradition. It is an honor to host at Creighton University a Catholic priest, celebrity, and personal friend.”

Fr. Martin has served in a consulting role for off-Broadway theater; penned or edited more than a dozen books; and regularly appeared on Comedy Central’s news satire program “The Colbert Report” to discuss issues pertinent to Catholicism in society.

Fr. Martin’s publications include his celebrated memoir My Life with the Saints (Loyola, 2006), which received a 2007 Christopher Award, and was named one of the “Best Books” of 2006 by Publishers Weekly. It also received a First Place award from the Catholic Press Association. The book has sold more than 120,000 copies and is used in universities, high schools, and book clubs worldwide, along with hundreds of U.S. parishes through the Dynamic Catholic program.

His most recent book is, Seven Last Words: An Invitation to a Deeper Friendship with Jesus (HarperOne, 2016) is based on his talks at New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Good Friday 2015. His previous book, Jesus: A Pilgrimage (HarperOne), is a New York Times bestseller and another Christopher Award-winner. The book combines travel narrative, biblical study, and spiritual reflections on the life of Christ.

In 2011, Fr. Martin published Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life (HarperOne), named as one of the “Best Books” of the year by Publishers Weekly. In 2013, HarperOne published an ebook, Together on Retreat: Meeting Jesus in Prayer, which uses the technology of the ereader to lead readers on a guided retreat.

Creighton University is a Jesuit, Catholic university bridging health, law, business and the arts and sciences for a more just world.