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Vice President Pence to be Notre Dame commencement speaker

March 02, 2017

Vice President Mike Pence will deliver a commencement address, and receive an honorary degree, at the University of Notre Dame in May.

In announcing that Pence would be the commencement speaker, Notre Dame’s president, Father John Jenkins, referred to the vice president as a “native son” of Indiana, who “instilled confidence on the state level” before assuming his current national post.

The invitation to Pence resolves a delicate problem for Notre Dame. The school was heavily criticized for its 2009 invitation to President Barack Obama, whose policies on life issues clashed directly with Catholic moral principles. Last December, after Donald Trump’s election to the presidency, Father Jenkins remarked that the Obama speech had become “a bit of a political circus,” and he feared that an invitation to Trump would cause even greater uproar.

Six incumbent US presidents have been commencement speakers at Notre Dame. Pence will be the first vice president to fill that role.


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  • Posted by: Lucius49 - Mar. 03, 2017 2:35 PM ET USA

    What does a Notre Dame invite really mean? Does it reflect Catholic values or convictions? I don't think that can be said given past invitations and performances like the V Monologues tolerated at ND.The native son rationale for the invite indicates a secular paradigm. Nothing wrong with a native son rationale but ND is supposed to be Catholic. Sadly VP Pence although raised a Catholic left the Church for a Protestant group. I believe he's a good man and pray for his return to the Church.

  • Posted by: unum - Mar. 02, 2017 7:01 PM ET USA

    Good choice! Pence is a Christian and a much admired leader. He stands head and shoulders above Barack Obama!