Religious Freedom Ambassador to Speak for Commencement

Weekend of Events Set for June 14-16

By: Rosa Jimenez

Robert A. Seiple, the nation’s first Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, will deliver the commencement address Sunday, June 16.

Robert A. Seiple, the nation’s first Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, will present Walla Walla University’s commencement address. Seiple will address the Class of 2013 as part of the Sunday, June 16, ceremony.  The event will begin at 8:30 a.m. at WWU’s Centennial Green. 

Seiple’s long and distinguished career exemplifies a life of service and humanitarian leadership, including founding the Institute for Global Engagement. The organization promotes sustainable environments for religious freedom worldwide through local partnerships.

Seiple was inspired to create the organization after his experiences at the State Department, where he spent two years under the Clinton Administration as the first U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. In this position, he was charged with promoting religious freedom worldwide.

Seiple also spent 11 years as the president of World Vision, the Christian humanitarian organization that assists families in nearly 100 countries through programs in disaster relief, poverty reduction, and hunger alleviation. 

Earlier in his career, Seiple served as president of Eastern College and Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

During the Vietnam War, Seiple was a decorated Marine aviator. He served as a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps, flying 300 combat missions in Vietnam. He was awarded five Battle Stars, the Navy Commendation Award with Combat ‘V,’ 28 Air Medals and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Seiple is also the author of several books, including “A Missing Peace,” “Ambassadors of Hope: How Christians can Respond to the World’s Toughest Problems,” and, with Dennis R. Hoover, co-editor of “Religion and Security: The New Nexus in International Relations.”

The Sunday morning commencement ceremony caps a weekend of celebration activities, which include the following:

Friday, June 14
8 p.m. – Consecration, University Church
The senior class is planning Friday evening’s service as an artistic expression of worship in a number of art forms, all describing how they have met or experienced God at WWU.  Robert Egbert, professor of psychology, will draw these varied expressions together and explore how people can discover God in their individual disciplines and careers.

Graduate Reception, Kellogg Hall
The residence hall deans invite graduates, their families, and faculty and staff to a reception immediately following the Consecration service.

Saturday, June 15
9:30 a.m. – FirstServe Baccalaureate, University Church
Chris Oberg, senior pastor of the La Sierra University Church, will be the featured speaker.  Oberg is a WWU graduate and mother of graduating senior Alisa Oberg. 

11:45 a.m. – Second Service Baccalaureate, University Church
Second Service is a more traditional church service. Chris Oberg, senior pastor of the La Sierra University Church, will also speak for this service.

3 p.m. – Teacher Dedication, Walla Walla Valley Academy Auditorium
A special dedication service will be held to honor those graduating with education majors.

4 p.m. – Nurses’ Pinning, University Church
A special dedication service will be held to honor WWU’s nursing students. Reception immediately following in the Fellowship Hall.

5 p.m. – Theology Senior Dedication, Heubach Chapel (University Church)
A special dedication service will be held to honor graduating theology and religion students. Reception immediately following.

5 p.m. – Bachelor in Social Work Pinning, Room 209, Winter Education Complex
A special dedication service to honor bachelor of social work graduates. Reception immediately following.

6 p.m. – Strawberry Dessert Reception, Fine Arts Center Lawn
The senior class officers invite graduates and their families to enjoy strawberries, ice cream, and time together.

7 p.m. – Master’s Degree Hooding Ceremony, Walla Walla Valley Academy Auditorium
Friends and family of master’s degree candidates are invited to this celebration of achievement. A reception will follow.

8 p.m. – Evensong, University Church
This sunset service features organ music and the spoken word and is presented by Kraig Scott and Rodd Strobel.

Sunday, June 16

8:30 a.m. – Commencement, Centennial Green
Robert A. Seiple will present the commencement address, followed by the conferring of degrees.

For a more complete schedule of graduation events and more information, including inclement weather plans, contact the Office of the President at (509) 527-2066, or email More information is also available at

Published May 29, 2013


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