The Rev. James Martin, S.J., will serve as the primary speaker at The University’s 2017 undergraduate commencement in May.
Martin is a New York Times best-selling author and editor-at-large of America Magazine. He has written and edited several books including “Seven Last Words: An Invitation to a Deeper Friendship with Jesus” and “The Abbey: A Story of Discovery.” Multiple of his books have received awards from various organizations.
His books, “Jesus: A Pilgrimage” and “The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life,” were both New York Times best sellers. “The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life” was also a number one bestseller in Catholic books, among other awards.
Besides his book career, Martin has written for other publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe and The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Martin has also appeared on major radio and television networks, including ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN, as a commentator of religion and spirituality.
In a statement provided by Director of News and Media Relations Stan Zygmunt, the Rev. Dr. Kevin Quinn, S.J., president of The University, said Martin’s messages will be enjoyable for the audience at commencement.
“A prolific writer, Father Martin has a remarkable way of using humor and stories to convey straightforward messages packed with wisdom and profound spiritual meaning,” Quinn said. “We are blessed to have him serve as our commencement speaker – one who our students and guests will surely enjoy.”
Catherine Seymour, campus minister for social justice, has read and used some of Martin’s books with students during reflections and group discussions. Seymour thinks highly of his books and believes they are relatable to students.
“His books are wonderful. His books, I think, really showcase Jesuit spirituality but also help our students think about God in a very personal, very easy to relate to way,” Seymour said.
Seymour said she expects Martin to be down-to-earth during his speech at commencement. She hopes he will help students continue their Jesuit educations and ideals past graduation, she said.
“I think he’ll have a lot to say about Jesuit education, Jesuit spirituality and how hopefully those things have shaped or formed our students and how they inform our community,” Seymour said. “I think he’ll speak directly to our students and where they’re at in their lives and offer some suggestions for how to continue their lives of faith once they graduate.”
Senior, Kaitlyn Davis is also a fan of Martin’s works. Davis read “The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life” for one of her classes and has read others on her own time.
“(My favorite) is a book I’m reading right now. It’s called ‘Between Heaven and Mirth.’ It’s about the connections between humor and joy and our catholic faith,” Davis said.
Davis will be graduating from her undergraduate education at The University in May. She hopes that Martin will be both humorous and relatable.
“I think he’ll have a really good perspective and really good things to say to us as graduates of a Jesuit school, and the ways we can take what we’ve learned from our experiences and translate them into our lives after college life,” Davis said.
Martin will also receive an honorary degree from The University during the ceremony. The University’s commencement is on May 28 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre.