Secretary of State Colin Powell to address WFU graduates May 17

Colin L. PowellSecretary of State Colin L. Powell is scheduled to deliver Wake Forest University’s commencement address May 17.

Powell will address Wake Forest graduates during the 9 a.m. outdoor ceremony on University Plaza (the Quad), his schedule permitting. The ceremony is not open to the public.

John R. ClaypoolJohn R. Claypool, professor of preaching at Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology and author of several books, will deliver the baccalaureate address May 16 at 11 a.m. in Wait Chapel.

Powell was sworn in as the 65th secretary of state on Jan. 20, 2001. Prior to his appointment, he was chairman of America’s Promise – The Alliance for Youth, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to building the character and competence of young people.

Powell was born in New York City in 1937. He attended City College of New York where he earned a bachelor’s degree in geology and participated in the ROTC program. In 1958, he received a commission as an Army second lieutenant.

During his 35-year career as a professional soldier, Powell held several command and staff positions and rose to the rank of four-star general. He was assistant to the president for national security affairs from 1987-1989, and served from 1989-1993 as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest military position in the Department of Defense. During that time, he oversaw 28 crises, including Operation Desert Storm.

Powell has received two Presidential Medals of Freedom, the President’s Citizens Medal, the Congressional Gold Medal, the Secretary of State Distinguished Service Medal and the Secretary of Energy Distinguished Service Medal. His best-selling autobiography, “My American Journey,” was published in 1995.

Baccalaureate speaker Claypool, known for his outstanding preaching, was ordained as a Southern Baptist clergyperson in 1953 and served seven churches in several southern states for 31 years. In 1985, he was confirmed in the Episcopal Church and ordained as a priest in 1986. He was rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham, Ala., from 1987-2001.

Claypool is the author of several religious books, including “God is an Amateur,” “Tracks of a Fellow Struggler,” “Mending the Heart” and “Stories Jesus Still Tells: The Parables.” He received his Bachelor of Divinity and Doctor of Theology degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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