Big Q: Who Would Be Your Ideal Commencement Speaker?

CHICAGO, IL (March 3, 2015) — Now that February is finally over, the Companion staff is ready for spring, which means warmer temperatures, new growth—and graduation ceremonies, complete with the ever-present commencement speaker. You might choose this option to occupy yourself during any especially uninspired speeches, but we’d like to know, if you could invite anyone living or dead to speak at your commencement ceremony, who would you ask—and why?

Gwen Ifill Commencement

Gwen Ifill


Answer in the comment section below, on Facebook, or email Cathy Norman Peterson. We’ll publish a selection of your responses in the May/June Companion as well as at Please include your name, church, and the town where you live.




  • My dad, John Thomas from Aurora, Nebraska who went to heaven in 1985. I would title his talk, “what I’ve learned about life before death over the past 30 years of life after death.” He was such a fascinating man who could motivate me to plan and try to accomplish great things. In the past 30 years since his death I’ve done more than I ever imagined when I was 17 years old. I am confident his words, both serious and humorous would inspire others to set high goals and pursue their dreams. Then afterwards, I would take him to lunch and introduce my grown children who were both born after his death and let them interact with the best man I’ve ever met.

  • My Chosen Speaker would be Benita C. Bush she is a retired teacher with a Masters in Education, mom of 2 Daughter and Son she has ex Joy and loss. But one thing she said to me that impacted me years ago. If I loss my job or never taught in a classroom again I would be just fine as long as I could teach The Word of God that she knows she is anointed by God to do. I agree she has been an example of a true leader who is humble and works behind the scenes in women ministry as a Coach, Educator and has so much to offer others because of her faith in Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. She’s not famous but is loved by God and she shares it well.

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