posted March 7, 2003

Graduation Activities Will Be Sunday, May 4

More than 600 seniors will participate in Hope College's 138th Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 4.

The Commencement speaker, chosen by the graduating class, will be Dr. Fred L. Johnson III, assistant professor of history at Hope. The Baccalaureate sermon will be delivered by the Rev. Eugene Sutton of Washington, D.C., a 1976 Hope graduate who is canon pastor at Washington National Cathedral, and director of the Cathedral Center for Prayer and Pilgrimage.

Commencement will be held on Sunday, May 4, at 3 p.m. in Holland Municipal Stadium. Baccalaureate will be held on Sunday, May 4, at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel.

Johnson joined the Hope faculty in the fall of 2000. His primary field is 19th century U.S. history, specifically the Confederacy during the Civil War. Other areas of study include the U.S. in the 20th century, the U.S. military and Africa.

He is the author of two critically-acclaimed novels, "A Man Finds His Way," published early this year, and "Bittersweet," published early in 2002.

Johnson is currently revising his doctoral dissertation for publication. Titled "The Tracks of War: Confederate Rail Policy and the Struggle for the Baltimore & Ohio," it is a case study of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad during the Civil War to determine whether or not, or to what extent, the Confederate government had a definitive strategy against it and other United States railroads. He is also conducting research for a book on the history of U.S. foreign policy in East Africa since 1945, and is interested in writing a biography of Henry O. Flipper, who was born a slave and in 1877 became the first black graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Johnson grew up in the Washington, D.C., metro area. He received his bachelor's degree from Bowie State College in Maryland, and his master's and doctorate from Kent State University in Ohio. His past career experiences include serving as a corporate trainer and as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps.

His community involvement includes serving on the board of the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance.

In addition to serving at Washington National Cathedral, Sutton is an adjunct member of the faculty of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., teaching courses in spirituality and homiletics. In addition, he co- founded, and serves on the board of, Contemplative Outreach of Metropolitan Washington, an ecumenical network of churches and individuals committed to centering prayer and other Christian contemplative spiritual practices.

Prior to joining the staff of Washington National Cathedral, Sutton was the associate for spirituality and justice at St. Columba's Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. He previously served at several other parishes, including Covenant Community Reformed Church in Muskegon Heights, and as chaplain of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey.

His past teaching appointments have included Vanderbilt University Divinity School, General Theological Seminary in New York City, New Brunswick Theological Seminary and Muskegon Community College, where he also served as chaplain.

Sutton spoke during the college's fall, 1993, Critical Issues Symposium, "Race and Social Change in America," presenting the address "Been in the Storm So Long: The Crucible of Race in the Church." He will receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the college's Alumni Association on Saturday, May 3.

He received the master of divinity degree from Western Theological Seminary, and did graduate studies in theology and communication at Princeton Theological Seminary.

In the event of rain, Commencement will be held at Zeeland High School, located at Riley and 96th Avenue in Zeeland. Admission to Baccalaureate, and to Commencement if indoors, is by ticket only.