U.S. Attorney Selected as 2017 Commencement Speaker
April Wilson is student speaker; Zachary
Fardon, Paul R. Tetreault, Dara Torres to receive honorary
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[May 02, 2017]
- Zachary Fardon, the former U.S. Attorney for the Northern
District of Illinois, and an outspoken campaigner against urban gun
violence, will be the commencement speaker for Lincoln College.
“We are very pleased that Mr. Fardon has accepted our
invitation and we look forward to hearing his perspective and
learning about his experiences as U.S. attorney. He has spoken out
strongly against gang violence and the role of social media in
fostering violence. We expect that his talk will be among the most
interesting and relevant commencement speeches given on any college
campus this year,” Lincoln College President David Gerlach said.
Commencement will be Saturday, May 6, at the Lincoln Center on the
Lincoln College Campus beginning at 12:30 p.m. Student speaker will
be April Wilson, a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society’s All
Fardon is one of three distinguished individuals who will receive
honorary doctorates this year from Lincoln College.
In addition to the Doctor of Laws that will be awarded to Fardon,
Paul R. Tetreault will receive a Doctor of Fine Arts and Dara Torres
will be named a Doctor of Humane Letters.
Paul R. Tetreault
Tetreault is director of Ford’s Theater in
Washington, D.C., where he has overseen the theater’s efforts “to
use the lens of Lincoln’s life and legacy to spark conversations
about diverse aspects of the American experience.” Since joining
Ford’s Theater in 2004, he has focused on enhancing the
institution’s artistic programming while expanding its mission to
focus on education.
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Torres is a five-time Olympian and 12 time medalist
in swimming. She is the first U.S. swimmer ever to compete in five
Olympics and holds the U.S. record in the 50 meter freestyle. She
entered her first international swimming competition at 14 and
competed in her first Olympic games in 1984.
At the 2008 Beijing Olympics she became the oldest swimmer to
compete, taking home three silver medals and finishing just 1/100th of a second
behind the gold medal winner in the 50-meter freestyle.
Former U.S. Attorney Fardon has called for federal and local authorities to
“flood” neighborhoods afflicted by rampant gang crime and has raised concerns
that social media is helping to drive “the virus of gun play” among young
As U.S. Attorney, his office conducted numerous significant investigations and
prosecutions involving international terrorism and terrorism financing, public
corruption, corporate fraud, violent crime, narcotics and gangs.
Wilson, the student speaker, is a Chicago native and a 2008 graduate of
Champaign Central High School. She is a single mother and the first in her
family to graduate from college. Following graduation, she will attend Southern
Illinois University in Carbondale and hopes to pursue a Master’s Degree in
To be a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society’s All American Team, students
must “demonstrate academic excellence and intellectual rigor combined with
leadership and service that extends their education beyond the classroom to
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