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Astronaut James Lovell, Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka to Speak at Commencements

James Lovell, the U.S. astronaut who flew to the moon twice, and Wole Soyinka, a Nobel laureate and President’s Professor at Loyola Marymount University, will deliver the commencement addresses at Loyola Marymount University next weekend.

Lovell will speak at the 102nd annual undergraduate commencement, which takes place at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 10.   Soyinka will address the graduate commencement, which takes place at 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 11.   Both ceremonies will be held at Sunken Garden on the Westchester campus.

Lovell, a retired captain in the U.S. Navy, commanded Apollo 13, which suffered a critical failure during its moon voyage in April 1970.  The trip and heroic efforts of the crew, which saved the men and their craft, were the subject of the film “Apollo 13.”  Lovell also flew to the moon aboard Apollo 8 in 1968.  He will receive an honorary doctorate.

Soyinka, who is the author of more than 20 literary works, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986 and is the first African to become a Nobel laureate.  Soyinka joined Loyola Marymount University as the President’s Marymount Institute Professor in Residence in 2008.  He was an activist in Nigeria’s fight for independence, who was imprisoned in solitary confinement from 1967 to 1969 for writing an article that called for a cease-fire. He has continued his involvement in Nigerian politics and the shaping of that African country as an independent nation.

More than 1,500 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees will be conferred at the Saturday ceremony, and more than 700 graduate degrees will be conferred on Sunday.