Librarian of Congress James Hadley Billington will be the commencement speaker at Ave Maria University this May, according to a press release from the University.
Dr. Billington, who was sworn in as the Librarian of Congress in 1987, will be awarded an honorary doctorate in “recognition of his exemplary public service and lifetime achievements at home and abroad.” The University reports:
Born in Bryn Mawr, Pa., Dr. Billington was educated in the public schools of the Philadelphia area. He was class valedictorian at both Lower Merion High School and Princeton University, where he graduated with highest honors in 1950. He earned his doctorate from Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar at Balliol College. Following service with the U. S. Army, he taught history at Harvard University from 1957 to 1962, and then moved to the faculty of Princeton University, where he was professor of history from 1964 to 1974. Between 1973 and 1987, Dr. Billington was director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the nation’s official memorial in Washington to America’s 28th president.
Dr. Billington is highly respected for preserving sacred history, particularly in the Middle East where religious rivalries can lead to the destruction of documents and other artifacts of faith. In October 2004, as Librarian of Congress, Dr. Billington led delegation to Tehran, Iran, that expanded exchanges between the Library of Congress and the National Library of Iran. He was the most senior U.S. government official to openly visit Iran in 25 years.
“Dr. Billington’s remarks will be an inspiration to our students,” [Ave Maria University President] Towey said. “They will be meeting a singularly unique individual who is both octogenarian and humanitarian, and a genuine man of faith.”
Ave Maria University is recommended in The Newman Guide for its strong Catholic identity.
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