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March 2015

Popular Catholic Author, Commentator James Martin, S.J., to Address Class of 2015 at Santa Clara University Commencement June 13

One of the most influential Catholic authors and speakers, James Martin, S.J., will be the featured speaker at Santa Clara University’s undergraduate commencement ceremony June 13.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Mar. 18, 2015 — One of the most influential Catholic authors and speakers, who has provided commentary for media outlets from NPR to the The New York Times to "The Colbert Report," James Martin, S.J., will be the featured commencement speaker at Santa Clara University’s 164th undergraduate commencement ceremony June 13.

Undergraduate commencement will take place at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 13, at Santa Clara University’s Buck Shaw Stadium.

A separate commencement for students receiving advanced degrees from the College of Arts and Sciences’ Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries; the School of Engineering; the Leavey School of Business, and the School of Education and Counseling Psychology will be held Friday, June 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the Leavey Events Center. 

Undergraduate commencement speaker Fr. Martin was perhaps best known as the “Chaplain of the Colbert Nation,” a recurring guest on the Comedy Central show "The Colbert Report," which ended its run last year. Martin is editor at large of America Magazine, the national Catholic weekly with 45,000 subscribers. His articles and commentary have also run in publications including Commonweal, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Time magazine, as well as on CNN, NPR, and other broadcast media.

“For many, Fr. Martin is the face of the Church in mainstream media. He shares the essence of how Catholic values play out across the globe,” said Santa Clara University President Michael Engh, S.J. “As a best-selling author, he has an uncanny ability to make matters of faith clearer, accessible, and relevant in today’s world. I look forward to welcoming Fr. Martin to campus as our commencement speaker this year.”

He is the author of several books, including, most recently, the New York Times bestsellers Jesus: A Pilgrimage and The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life. His bestselling memoir, My Life with the Saints, and his book A Jesuit Off-Broadway: Center Stage with Jesus, Judas and Life’s Big Questions, both won top awards from Publishers Weekly and the Catholic Press Association.

He received his bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, and entered the Jesuit Order after working for six years with General Electric. He received his master’s degree in divinity and in theology from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, now part of the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.

On the comedy news show "The Colbert Report," Martin regularly provided Catholic theology and teaching while fielding mock-accusatory questions from Stephen Colbert, such as why Pope Francis is “gunning for the big-money people” and not attacking the poor, as well. In response to a Colbert jab that the Pope has “got to attack both of them if he loves them both—it’s in the gospel,” Martin responded with a smile, “I’ve been reading a different translation I guess.”

Fr. Martin’s Jesuit formation has brought him to Kingston, Jamaica, working in a hospice run by the Missionaries of Charity; to the Nativity Mission School, a school for poor boys in New York City; and to Nairobi, Kenya, where he helped East African refugees start small businesses. He was ordained a Catholic priest in June 1999 and on November 1, 2009, pronounced his final vows as a Jesuit.

“I’m deeply honored to be invited to join the graduates this year at Santa Clara,” said Martin. “It’s a superb school where the Jesuit and Catholic mission of educating and informing others to use their gifts for the betterment of humanity, the poor, and the earth is lived out to the fullest. I look forward to meeting all the great 'men and women for others' who are among this year’s graduating class.”

At the undergraduate commencement, the University will confer an honorary degree on Fr. Martin, as well as on Michel ’60 and Mary Orradre, friends and benefactors of Santa Clara University’s academic endeavors. Also receiving an honorary degree will be internationally recognized sculptor and SCU supporter Fletcher Benton.

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its more than 8,800 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, theology, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see

Media Contact
Deepa Arora | SCU Communications Director | | 408-554-5125