UW News

April 11, 2002

Tutu to participate in UW forum

News and Information

Archbishop Desmond Tutu will be on campus May 7 for two special events: a forum on the health of the world’s children and a formal academic convocation, at which he will be awarded an honorary degree.

Tutu is archbishop emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa. His was the leading voice in the nonviolent struggle against apartheid in that country. Tutu received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984. After South Africa’s first democratic election in 1994, President Nelson Mandela appointed Tutu chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The forum on the health of the world’s children will be from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in Hogness Auditorium in the Health Sciences Center. In addition to Tutu, panelists will include Stephen Gloyd, director of the UW International Health Program in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine; King Holmes, director of the UW Center for AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Disease in the School of Medicine; and Bolanle Oyeledun, Packard-Gates Population Leadership Fellow in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology, and the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs.

A limited number of seats for faculty, staff and students will be available in Hogness Auditorium and an overflow room. These seats will be awarded through a lottery. To register, call 206-685-9420 or e-mail hsevents@u.washington.edu.

The academic convocation will take place from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in Meany Hall. It will include an academic procession. Music will be provided by the University of Washington Wind Ensemble, Lora Chiora-dye and the Sukutai Mbira Ensemble and the Total Experience Gospel Choir.

Tutu will be awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree and will deliver an address on, “Peace, Reconciliation, and Leadership.”

This will be the first honorary degree awarded by the UW since 1921, a practice that ceased for reasons unknown to the University today. Although the Regents have been authorized in state statute to award honorary degrees upon the recommendation of the faculty, only recently has the University’s interest in awarding honorary degrees been rekindled. This year, the Faculty Senate passed legislation that specified procedures for awarding such degrees, with the responsibility for recommending them vested in the Faculty Council on University Relations. This council recently recommended that Tutu receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree, which was approved by the Regents at the board’s March meeting.

Tickets to the convocation for UW faculty, staff and students also will be available through a lottery. Faculty and staff who wish to request tickets should visit http://www.washington.edu/univrel/tutu/. Students can visit the Student Activities Office, 207 HUB, or apply at the Web site, http://depts.washington.edu/sao/.

The last honorary degree awarded at the UW went to Marshal Ferdinand Foch, who led the Allied forces in World War I. “No one could foresee the level of destruction and violence humanity would wreak upon itself through the rest of that century, perhaps the bloodiest in human history,” says Norman Arkans, associate vice president for university relations. “From the look of it, the 21st century may not be much better. We think it is noteworthy that the first honorary degree in 81 years at the University of Washington will be awarded to a man of peace.”

Tutu works worldwide to advance the values of peace, reconciliation and restorative justice through the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation. The Tutu Peace Foundation of North America, is headquartered in Seattle. Robert Taylor, dean of St. Mark’s Cathedral, is the foundation president; Constance Rice is executive director.