Virtual Baccalaureate on May 23 to Honor Class of 2020
Campus News

This year, the Franklin College community will “come together” virtually for the traditional baccalaureate service that is a part of the graduation celebration weekend each May. On what had been planned as the day for the 2020 commencement ceremony – Saturday, May 23 – graduating seniors, their families, faculty, staff and friends of the college will instead come together virtually at 11 a.m. to view the spiritual service that honors the 2020 graduates.

“We are glad to have this opportunity to gather as a community, even as we are physically apart, to celebrate the journey of our graduates,” said Franklin College President Kerry N. Prather.        

The service will include performances and readings done virtually by members of the Class of 2020. Dr. Michael Gilligan will serve as the ceremony’s keynote speaker, providing a special message to the seniors.

The service can be accessed from the Franklin College website.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the college has rescheduled the traditional commencement ceremony to coincide with the annual Homecoming and Alumni Weekend. Franklin College looks forward to coming together in person to celebrate the Class of 2020 on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020.

“While we are eagerly looking forward to celebrating our graduates at our October commencement, we are grateful for this opportunity to gather virtually as a community to spiritually reflect upon the college experience and receive encouragement in this time from our guest speaker, Dr. Gilligan,” said Rev. Hannah Adams Ingram, Ph.D., director of religious life and chaplain at Franklin College.

Dr. Michael Gilligan

Dr. Michael Gilligan

Speaker bio: Michael Gilligan is President Emeritus of the Henry Luce Foundation, New York. He retired in 2019 after 21 years at Luce, the last 17 as president and CEO. During his tenure, the foundation approved more than 2,800 grants, totaling more than $500 million, supporting projects in higher education, American art, Asian studies, theology, women in the STEM disciplines, and public policy. Committed to learning and leadership, the foundation was created in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, the co-founder and editor in chief of TIME, Inc.  

For 15 years before directing the Luce Foundation’s theology program, Dr. Gilligan worked in theological education — in accreditation and leadership education for the Association of Theological Schools in the US and Canada, and as academic dean and professor of the Pontifical College Josephinum. Earlier, he served as a teacher and administrator in the schools of the Catholic Diocese of Columbus, OH. 

He has served on more than a dozen boards of trustees, including most recently 20 years on the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia (six as chair), and 14 years for the Council of Independent Colleges. A native of central Ohio, he received the B.A. summa cum laude from Duke University, and the M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.  

For additional information, contact Rev. Dr. Hannah Adams Ingram, director of religious life and college chaplain at Franklin College, at or (317) 738-8140.

POSTED May 6, 2020