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Former U.S. ambassador to speak at 178th commencement


John Limbert, distinguished professor of international affairs at the United States Naval Academy and one of the nation’s premier voices on Iran, will address the Illinois College Class of 2012 during the college’s commencement exercise on Sunday, May 13. Click here to watch the ceremony as it is streamed live from the Historic Upper Quadrangle.

Limbert is the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iran in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. He is a veteran U.S. diplomat and a former official at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran where he was held captive with 51 other Americans for 444 days during the Iran hostage crisis.

In 1973 Limbert joined the Foreign Service. His overseas postings included Algeria, Djibouti, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. From 2000 to 2003, he was ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. While still ambassador, he was one of the first civilian officials to enter Baghdad in April 2003 with the Organization of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance. Among his earlier positions, he served as Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism in the State Department. Limbert retired from the Foreign Service with the rank of minister-counselor.

Born in Washington, D.C., and a resident of Stockbridge, Vt., Limbert graduated from the D.C. public schools and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, Master of Arts degree and Ph.D. from Harvard University. He earned his doctorate degree in history and Middle Eastern Studies. He holds the Department of State’s highest award, the Distinguished Service Award, as well as the Award for Valor, which he received for his service during the hostage crisis. Limbert is the author of Iran: At War with History, Shiraz in the Age of Hafez and Negotiating with Iran: Wrestling the Ghosts of History.

Illinois College will confer Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees upon its 178th graduating class. Approximately 175 candidates for graduation will participate in the 3 p.m. ceremony on the Historic Upper Quadrangle. The Doctor of Humane Letters degree will be conferred on Limbert during the ceremony, as well as James Bruner, a 1966 Illinois College graduate and one of Illinois College’s most distinguished supporters. Bruner retired as trustee emeritus this year after serving 20 years as a member of the Illinois College Board of Trustees. Bruner’s generous giving has played a key role in providing critical operating support, enhancing programs and most visibly, providing the lead gift for the state-of-the-art Bruner Fitness and Recreation Center.

Honorary Bachelor of Arts degrees will be bestowed upon Stephen Oetgen, Howard Million and Ruth Broehl Love. Oetgen is a native of Jacksonville and is one of three founding partners of the Kirkland & Ellis LLP law firm in San Francisco, Calif. He currently serves on the college’s Board of Trustees. Million is a farmer from Roodhouse who always wanted to attend college, but put the needs of his family first. After a successful life farming crops and managing livestock, Million is helping to make the dream of attending college a reality for future students by establishing the Howard and Vera Million Scholarship at Illinois College. Love was born in 1915, and is the sister of Doris Broehl Hopper, former Illinois College Dean of Women. Love entered Illinois College with the Class of 1937. Had she graduated with her class, this May would have marked the 75th anniversary of her graduation.

Reviving an Illinois College tradition, the members of the 50th reunion class, 1962, are invited to march with the Class of 2012 processional at commencement. In case of rain, commencement exercises will be held in the Bruner Fitness and Recreation Center’s Sherman Gymnasium.

The annual baccalaureate service will be held at 10:30 a.m. in Rammelkamp Chapel with the Illinois College Department of Music performing a pre-baccalaureate concert at 10 that morning. The sermon will be delivered by Illinois College Chaplain Katrina Jenkins.

Official commencement activities will begin on Thursday, May 10, with the annual Phi Beta Kappa installation ceremony in Tanner Hall at 6 p.m. Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest and most distinguished academic honor society. A dinner banquet honoring the college’s newest members will be held following the initiation ceremony with an address given by Seacoast Repertory Theatre Artistic Director John McCluggage, a 1982 Phi Beta Kappa graduate.

Illinois College’s Osage Orange Festival will be held on Friday, May 11. Students, parents, alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the college are invited to gather in the King Field House of the Bruner Fitness and Recreation Center beginning at 6 p.m. Food and beverages will be available for purchase, while inflatable games and musical entertainment by “BritBeat,” America’s premier tribute to “The Beatles,” will be offered free of charge.

The Class of 1962 50th reunion luncheon will be held on Saturday at 12 noon at the Jacksonville Country Club. The college’s traditional Love Feasts hosted by most of the men’s and women’s literary societies are being planned for various locations in Jacksonville on Saturday, May 12. For more information regarding Illinois College commencement weekend activities, contact the Office of Alumni at 217.245.3046.
U.S. Mission photo by Eric Bridiers
About Illinois College

Founded in 1829, Illinois College is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning while preparing students for lifelong success. The college is located in Jacksonville, Ill. With an enrollment of about 1,000 students, the college offers over 50 undergraduate programs and a Master of Arts in Education degree program. In 1932 the society of Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at Illinois College, and it remains one of only 11 in the state.

Illinois College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

Visit or call 217-245-3467 for more information.

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