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April 23, 2001

Lipstadt added as fifth speaker

By Michael Terrazas


President Bill Chace announced late last week that Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies and director of the Institute for Jewish Studies, will address the 2001 class of graduates and their guests at Emory’s 156th Commencement on May 14.

After some students expressed dissatisfaction with the University’s decision to have its four honorary degree recipients deliver brief Commencement addresses, Chace and the administration met with student leaders to search for an equable solution. Lipstadt was one of four faculty members suggested by students as a possible “main” Commencement speaker.

“I am glad to be able to respond to the students in the Class of 2001 who have thoughtfully expressed their devotion to Commencement as they understand its traditions,” Chace said. “In adding an ornament to these traditions, namely a Class of 2001 speaker, I am delighted that Professor Lipstadt, a brilliant scholar and a courageous defender of the truth, will be that speaker.”

Lipstadt’s address will come early in the main Commencement program, according to Secretary Gary Hauk. The four individuals slated to receive honorary degrees—Middle East peace activist Elias Chacour, former Emory Board of Trustees Chair Bradley Currey, South African Constitutional Court Justice Richard Goldstone and acclaimed journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault—will still deliver brief remarks upon receiving their degrees later in the event.

Lipstadt received the 1994 National Jewish Book Honor Award for Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory. She has served as a member of the U.S. state department’s advisory committee on religious freedom abroad and as an advisor to former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on matters of religious persecution.

Last year Lipstadt was drawn into the international spotlight when writer David Irving sued her for libel in British court, claiming that Denying the Holocaust unfairly labeled him as a “Holocaust denier.” Lipstadt won a convincing victory in the case, which was heralded by scholars worldwide as a triumph of truth over historical fraud.


Back to Emory Report April 23, 2001