Education

USC announces guest speaker for May graduation

FILE: University of South Carolina students took part in the school's graduation ceremony inside Colonial Life Arena, Friday, May 6, 2016.
FILE: University of South Carolina students took part in the school's graduation ceremony inside Colonial Life Arena, Friday, May 6, 2016. gmelendez@thestate.com

The secretary-general of the United Nations will speak at one of the University of South Carolina’s graduation ceremonies next month.

USC announced Monday that Antonio Guterres will deliver the keynote speech at the 3 p.m. ceremony on May 6.

“We are honored that the U.N. secretary-general has decided to visit Columbia and speak to our graduates,” USC president Harris Pastides said in a statement. “This is a rare opportunity for students to hear from a consummate diplomat, civil servant and human rights advocate who is immersed on a daily basis in the most critical issues facing our world today.”

Monday’s announcement came as a surprise. USC said last fall it would no longer have guest speakers at graduation ceremonies.

USC said Monday it would use guest speakers in “unique occasions where a highly distinguished speaker may be available to address students.”

Guterres, from Portugal, is the chief administrative officer of the U.N. Former S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley now represents the United States in that body.

Guterres will address students graduating from the College of Education; College of Engineering and Computing; College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management; Interdisciplinary Programs; Palmetto College; School of Music and College of Social Work.

More than 6,800 students will graduate from USC’s Columbia campus next month.

Avery G. Wilks: 803-771-8362, @averygwilks

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