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James Martin, SJ, to Deliver Rosemont’s 96th 2019 Commencement Address

James Martin, SJ Image

Jesuit priest, author, and editor Rev. James Martin, SJ, will deliver the Rosemont College commencement address at this year’s ceremony on May 11.

Fr. Martin will also receive an honorary degree at the ceremony. Fr. Martin is editor at large of the Jesuit magazine, America. In 2017, Pope Francis appointed him as a Consultor for the Vatican's Dicastery for Communication.

“We are delighted to welcome Fr. Martin to Rosemont,” said President Hirsh. “Fr. Martin is an advocate of the values we promote at Rosemont, and we look forward to his inspiring words as we celebrate our upcoming graduating class.”

Fr. Martin is the author of more than a dozen books, such as The New York Times bestsellers Jesus: A Pilgrimage and The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything. Two of his other books, My Life with the Saints and Between Heaven and Mirth have been named “Best Books of the Year” by Publishers Weekly.

Fr. Martin’s most recent book, Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Sensitivity and Compassion, was released in a revised and expanded paperback in March 2018.

“I'm deeply honored to be a receiving this degree from Rosemont College, and, by tradition, becoming a member of the graduating class,” said Fr. Martin. “As a Philadelphia native, a huge fan of Catholic sisters, especially the Sisters of the Holy Child, and a longtime admirer of the mission of Rosemont to foster excellence and joy in the pursuit of knowledge, I am eagerly anticipating commencement.”   

Fr. Martin was born and raised near Plymouth Meeting. He received his bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in 1982. Prior to joining the priesthood, Fr. Martin worked in corporate finance for six years for General Electric in New York City and Stamford, CT. In 1988, he entered the Society of Jesus – the Jesuits. 

He later began graduate theology studies at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry and received his master’s degree in divinity in 1998 and his master’s degree in theology in 1999. 

Fr. Martin's ministry in the United States has included work as a chaplain in a prison in Boston, at a school for low-income students in New York City, and an outreach program with street-gang members in Chicago. His international work has taken him to Nairobi, Kenya to serve a small business program for East African refugees and to Kingston, Jamaica to minister in a hospice center.

In addition to America magazine, Fr. Martin has been a frequent contributor to numerous publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Over the years, he has also been an expert commentator on religion, spirituality, and social justice on major media outlets such as ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, NPR, BBC, the History Channel, Vatican Radio, PBS, and FOX. For many years, he was a frequent contributor to Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report.

In addition to Fr. Martin’s honorary degree, the College will continue its tradition of awarding honorary degrees to two alumni at the 2019 ceremony. Maureen O’Grady Clancy, a 1953 graduate of the Undergraduate College, and Catherine B. Heckman, a 2001 graduate of the Undergraduate College and a 2011 graduate of the School of Graduate Studies, will also receive honorary degrees in recognition of their accomplishments.

Rosemont’s 96th Commencement exercises will be held Saturday, May 11. The ceremony will take place at 2:00 p.m. on Connelly Green. Fr. Martin will address graduates of the Undergraduate College and the Schools of Graduate and Professional Studies, along with families, friends, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, and community members.