Emory Report

May 1, 2000

 Volume 52, No. 31

Tutu heads home after two years at Candler

By John Allen

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who last week completed his two-year stint of teaching and preaching as a visiting professor in the Candler School of Theology, said he learned many new insights at Emory.

"My time here has been wonderful," he said in a statement released April 27. "Candler and Emory as a whole is a warm, friendly, affirming place. My students have been superb. I've enjoyed teaching them and have learned many, many insights from them."

"And," Tutu quipped, "I've found the faculty here actually like each other! It is a supportive and caring environment."

Tutu also had high praise for the medical care he received here. He had cryosurgery at Emory Hospital last November to combat a recurrence of prostate cancer.

"Both I and Leah, my wife, have been unwell at times while we've been here," he said. "But we have had outstanding medical care, and I want to thank everyone at the clinic and the hospital who have looked after us."

Provost Rebecca Chopp said, "Emory has been honored and delighted to have Archbishop Tutu on our faculty as a member of our Emory family. He has given generously of his time, wisdom and spirit in the classroom, in public lectures and in community service. His delightful humor, his vast range of experiences and his powerful testimonies have enriched the lives of our students, faculty and staff."

During his first year on campus, Tutu held an appointment as the Woodruff Visiting Professor of Theology, and during the second he was the Cannon Distinguished Visiting Professor. He taught two courses, a seminar on "Transfiguration, Forgiveness and Reconciliation" in the spring and fall of 1999, and a lecture class on "God and Us: Introduction to Contextual Theology and Ministry," attended by 175 students last spring and 80 more this semester.

He also wrote a book on his experiences with the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, No Future Without Forgiveness, published last fall by Doubleday. It won Book of the Year Award from the Association of Theological Booksellers as well as a Christopher Award, given for books, films and television productions that "affirm the highest values of the human spirit." The book is also being published in Dutch, French, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian and Italian.

Tutu also was in high demand off campus. During his time at Emory, he:

  • visited Ireland and the Middle East, where there was intense interest in South Africa's experiment in overcoming a history of conflict and repression.
  • traveled to several other countries--Senegal, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway.
  • received honorary degrees from 17 institutions in the United States, Canada, Sweden, Britain, Switzerland and Australia. Tutu will receive honorary degrees from another seven in the United States, Spain, Britain and Canada this spring.

Tutu's association with Emory dates back to 1988, when he received an honorary degree during that year's Commencement ceremonies. He and his wife will retire to South Africa this summer.

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