ST. LOUIS, May 1, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Garry Kasparov, a world champion chess player who has also led the battle for democracy in his Russian homeland, will address this year's graduates during Saint Louis University's spring commencement Saturday, May 16. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. in Chaifetz Arena.
A true prodigy, Kasparov was only 22 when he became the youngest person ever to earn the title of undisputed World Chess Champion, a premier post that he would hold for nearly a decade. His impressive career also includes a record 15 consecutive professional tournament victories and being named Russia's Chess Grand Master. Locally, he has been a strong supporter of the World Chess Hall of Fame and the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.
While Kasparov's accomplishments in chess are legendary, his commitment to social justice and democracy compelled him to move into politics. In 2005, he retired from competitive chess to join the vanguard of the Russian pro-democracy movement to protest the policies of President Vladimir Putin and continues to seek free elections in his country. He is also chairman of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation.
Following his address, Kasparov will receive an honorary doctor of laws from the University. SLU also will bestow honorary degrees on two other individuals during the May 16 ceremony. They are:
Anita Lyons Bond
Anita Lyons Bond is one of the first African-Americans to graduate from Saint Louis University following SLU's official integration in 1944. After earning a bachelor's degree with honors in 1950, she pursued a career in teaching. Bond also became a nationally known proponent for equal rights, serving on the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity in the early 1960s. Her successful lawsuit against the Missouri Board of Education in 1965 led to changes to its election procedures. In 1981, a federal judge appointed her to the committee that wrote the desegregation plan for the St. Louis Public Schools. Bond also has been named one of the "100 Most Inspiring St. Louisans" by the local chapter of the NAACP.
A 1954 graduate of SLU's Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology, Gene Kranz was NASA's mission control commander when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon. He also led the team that saved the Apollo 13 astronauts after an explosion crippled their ship in space. His motto, "Failure is not an option," carried him from the earliest days of NASA's space program through the 1993 shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. Kranz also is a veteran, having served in the U.S. Air Force as a fighter pilot during the Korean War. Since his retirement from NASA in 1994, Kranz has been involved with consulting, motivational speaking to youth groups and lecturing on manned spaceflight.
About SLU's Class of 2015
There are nearly 2,700 students graduating from Saint Louis University. Among the approximately 1,500 undergraduates earning degrees on May 16, 642 students are graduating with Latin honors, including 119 who are summa cum laude (3.9 GPA or better).
Other key facts about the Class of 2015 include:
- There are 180 international students representing 42 different countries.
- There are 28 veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.
- Nursing and Physical Therapy are the No. 1 and No. 2 majors, respectively.
- The College of Arts and Sciences is the most represented academic unit.
- Six students will have two reasons to celebrate during commencement. May 16 is also their birthday.
About Saint Louis University
Saint Louis University is a Catholic, Jesuit institution that values academic excellence, life-changing research, compassionate health care, and a strong commitment to faith and service. Founded in 1818, the University fosters the intellectual and character development of more than 13,000 students on two campuses in St. Louis and Madrid, Spain. Building on a legacy of nearly 200 years, Saint Louis University continues to move forward with an unwavering commitment to a higher purpose, a greater good.
Contact: Jeanette Grider, 314-977-2538, [email protected]
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SOURCE Saint Louis University