U.S. Sen. Richard “Dick” Durbin (D-Ill.), the 47th U.S. Senator from Illinois, will deliver the address at Augustana College’s 162nd Commencement Convocation on Sunday, May 22.
Sen. Durbin is the fourth Illinois senator to speak at an Augustana commencement in recent years, following Adlai E. Stevenson, Alan Dixon and Mark Kirk, according to a college release.
Sen. Durbin currently serves as the Democratic Whip — the second-highest ranking position in the Senate for the Democratic Caucus. He has been elected to this leadership post by his colleagues every two years since 2005. He is the fifth Illinois senator in history to serve as a Senate leader.
No stranger to Augustana’s campus, Sen. Durbin has spoken to students on various topics, including legislation dealing with education debt, in recent years. Augustana students have served as legislative interns in his Washington, D.C., office.
Sen. Durbin, Augustana President Steve Bahls and Dr. Millicent Knight each will receive an honorary degree at the ceremony.
President Bahls will be honored in recognition of his retirement, effective June 30. During his presidency, the Augustana and Quad-Cities communities benefited from his passion for the liberal arts, his natural gifts as a collaborator and his drive for innovation, the college said. His 19-year tenure at Augustana is nearly three times longer than the average for college presidents.
Dr. Knight, senior vice president of the eye care company Essilor of America in Dallas, was the commencement speaker for Augustana’s 2020 virtual ceremony. She is a 1982 Augie graduate and a member of the college’s Board of Trustees.
The Commencement Convocation will take place at 2 p.m. on May 22 at the TaxSlayer Center, 1201 River Drive, Moline. Doors will open at 1 p.m. for those who need accessible seating. Doors will open to the public at 1:15 p.m.
The ceremony will be live-streamed and archived on the college’s YouTube channel