April 15, 2019
As you may recall, I announced at spring Convocation in February that former Nebraska Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey had accepted my invitation to speak at both of our Commencement ceremonies on May 18. Today, Senator Kerrey informed me via a letter and personal phone call that he has decided to rescind his acceptance of the invitation.
In addition to his substantial credentials in military service, and state and national government roles, Senator Kerrey is also the former president of the New School University in New York City. In his thoughtful letter, the senator wrote that “commencement should be a moment of celebration and not disrupted by politics.” In closing, he explained, “My son is one of your graduates, and I feel a deep indebtedness to Creighton for the good you have done my family.”
I am grateful for Senator Kerrey’s discernment regarding this important matter, and I appreciate his desire not to not have the focus of the day shifted away from our students. I am working with members of my leadership team regarding our Commencement speaker and hope to be able to share the good news very soon.
Also, I firmly believe that Senator Kerrey’s substantial résumé and experience will make for an interesting and educational event for the University community. Following a successful series of events in 2018 that included former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, poet Julia Alvarez, and former Secretaries of State Dr. Madeleine Albright and Gen. Colin Powell, I am pleased that Senator Kerrey will join us in the fall as the Presidential Lecture Series continues. I will provide additional information prior to the close of our academic year regarding the date he will visit campus.
Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD