Former Middle East hostages Tom Sutherland and Terry Anderson will be reunited May 15 to serve as speakers for Colorado State University’s All-University Commencement.
Universitywide commencement ceremonies, reinstated at Colorado State three years ago after a long absence, will take place 3 p.m. Friday, May 15, at Moby Arena.
Sutherland, an emeritus professor at Colorado State who in 1991 returned from six years of captivity to a hero’s welcome in Fort Collins, and Anderson, former Associated Press bureau chief and best-selling author who was held captive for seven years, will speak about each individual’s ability to effect real change in the world around them. The two became friends during their years of captivity.
"Graduation is one of the most celebratory events for an academic institution, and in these two speakers the university has chosen people who can speak to the importance of celebrating every day and the importance of the individual," said Loren Crabtree, interim provost. "These two speakers will mark the importance of the day to our campus while also imparting some lessons for all of us."
The commencement ceremony will include the address by Sutherland and Anderson, remarks and conferral of degrees by Colorado State President Albert C. Yates and recognition of doctoral candidates. Traditional convocation ceremonies for all eight colleges will take place May 15 and 16 in locations throughout campus (see schedule). The public is invited to attend the All-University Commencement.
Anderson, author of "Den of Lions," is an associate professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. He writes a weekly column syndicated by the King Feature Syndicate and is a nationally known speaker on political and social affairs, the Middle East, journalism and government reform. "Den of Lions," which Anderson wrote with his wife, Madeleine Bassil, was a national best seller and told the story of Anderson’s seven years in captivity.
Anderson also wrote and co-produced "A Return to the Den of Lions," a documentary on Lebanon. Anderson is vice chairman of the Committee to Protect Journalism, which monitors attacks on the press and works on behalf of journalists around the world; co-chairman of the Vietnam Children’s Fund, which builds elementary schools in Vietnam; and chairman of the National Advisory Board of the Interfaith Alliance, which offers a mainstream political voice for people of faith and is a political opponent of the radical religious right.
Sutherland is a well-known figure in Colorado, first joining Colorado State University in the department of animal sciences in 1958. He was born in Scotland, educated at Glasgow University (B.S. Agriculture, 1953), and was a member of the Scottish Youth International Soccer Team. He came to the United States for graduate study at Iowa State University (M.S. 1956, Ph.D. 1958). For 25 years he was professor of animal science at Colorado State, where he received many honors as an outstanding teacher. During that time, he also spent a sabbatical year at the leading agricultural research station in France, and worked for two years in Ethiopia setting up the training program for the International Livestock Center for Africa. Sutherland was released from captivity on November 18, 1991.
He has discussed his hostage experience on national television, including appearances on Nightline, The Today Show, Good Morning America, The McNeil-Lehrer Report and on BBC and BBC Scotland. NBC News featured Sutherland’s return to Lebanon, including a visit to the headquarters of Hizbollah, his alleged captors. He was the first hostage to undertake such a return visit. Sutherland is a frequent speaker about his experience, the insights gained from it, about the Middle East and America’s role in the world abroad, the nature of terrorism in today’s world and particularly its threat to the United States, his worldwide efforts for peace, and his faith in America’s future.
At the commencement ceremony, President Yates and a representative from the State Board of Agriculture will confer all undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. In addition, all doctoral candidates will be hooded and recognized.
The 1998 All-University Commencement marks the third year of a return to tradition at Colorado State. In 1995, the university reinstated a ceremony for the entire university after several years without such a ceremony. David Halberstam, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, historian and reporter was the first speaker. In 1996, Ellen Goodman, a nationally syndicated columnist, was the speaker.
The commencement schedule follows.
Friday, May 15
- All-University Commencement–3 p.m., Moby Arena.
- Professional Veterinary Medicine–7 p.m., Moby Arena.
- ROTC Commissioning–7 p.m., Lory Student Center Theatre.
Saturday, May 16
- Engineering–9 a.m., Equine Teaching and Research Center, 701 S. Overland Trail.
- Natural Sciences–9 a.m., Moby Arena.
- Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences–9 a.m., Lory Student Center Ballroom.
- Business–1 p.m., Equine Teaching and Research Center, 701 S. Overland Trail.
- Liberal Arts–1 p.m., Moby Arena.
- Natural Resources–1 p.m., Lory Student Center Ballroom.
- Agricultural Sciences–5 p.m., Equine Teaching and Research Center, 701 S. Overland Trail.
- Applied Human Sciences–5 p.m., Moby Arena.