Historian Jon Meacham to deliver 2017 Commencement address

Jon Meacham

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and presidential historian Jon Meacham will deliver Wake Forest University’s commencement address on Monday, May 15.

Meacham is the author of highly acclaimed biographies of Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and George H.W. Bush.

Meacham’s most recent book, “Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush,” became a #1 New York Times bestseller. In 2009, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his bestseller “American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House.” His other national bestsellers include: “Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power,” “Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship” and “American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation.”

Meacham is currently at work on a biography of James and Dolley Madison.

“Jon Meacham has the ability to analyze contemporary politics through the eyes of an historian,” said Wake Forest University President Nathan O. Hatch.

“There is no better time for us to understand and appreciate how the past informs our future. We are honored he will deliver Wake Forest's commencement address.” President Nathan O. Hatch

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and of the Society of American Historians, Meacham is a distinguished visiting professor at Vanderbilt University and at The University of the South. He is a contributing editor at TIME magazine, a contributing writer to The New York Times Book Review and a former executive editor at Random House. A commentator on politics, history and religious faith in America, Meacham is also a regular guest on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” “Charlie Rose” and other broadcasts.

Meacham was the editor of Newsweek from 2006 to 2010. He is a former editor of The Washington Monthly and began his journalism career at The Chattanooga Times. Meacham chairs the National Advisory Council of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University.

Wake Forest’s commencement ceremony is a ticketed event reserved for graduates, their families and guests and is not open to the public. The ceremony takes place on Hearn Plaza at 9 a.m.

A livestream webcast of the ceremony will be available at go.wfu.edu/wfu17.

Previous commencement speakers have included comedian Stephen Colbert (2015), The New York Times’ former executive editor Jill Abramson (2014), PepsiCo CEO Indra K. Nooyi (2011), Vice President Joe Biden (2009), professional golfer Arnold Palmer (’51) (2005), Secretary of State Colin Powell (2004), and former First Lady Barbara Bush (2001).

Baccalaureate information

Also joining Wake Forest for the commencement weekend will be Baccalaureate speaker Kathy “Killian” Noe (’80), founder of the Recovery Café in Seattle, Wash. She was awarded Wake Forest University’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2015 and was featured in the Spring 2017 issue of Wake Forest Magazine.

Killian Noe

Killian Noe

“Killian Noe is a deeply caring person and she believes in building deeply connected communities,” Hatch said. “Through her ministry to those trapped by addiction, mental illness and homelessness, she offers hope and healing. Her work to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable people is inspiring.”

As the founding director of Recovery Café and co-founder of Samaritan Inns in Washington, D.C., she’s helped thousands of people rebuild shattered lives. The Recovery Café model has been replicated in five other cities and efforts are underway to launch Recovery Cafés nationwide.

Baccalaureate will take place Sunday, May 14, at 9 a.m. in Wait Chapel. Like commencement, baccalaureate is a ticketed event reserved for graduates, their families and guests and is not open to the general public.

A livestream webcast of the service will be available at go.wfu.edu/bacc17.

Additional information about Wake Forest’s commencement weekend is available at commencement.wfu.edu.

Categories: Commencement, Events, Speakers, Top Stories

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