Hamline News

2018 Commencement Speakers

Hamline's 2018 commencement speakers illustrate the university's rich academic traditions, an enduring legacy of inclusion and a community commitment to doing all the good we can in all the ways we can. 

Zinzile Sibanda, undergraduate ceremony student speaker 

Hamline University graduating senior Zinzile Sibanda will be the first international student at the school to address fellow graduates during Commencement. Sibanda, a political science major from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, auditioned for the role of speaker and was selected based on her speech about community and how the skills she and her classmates learned at Hamline will enable them to strengthen and build the communities they will find themselves in after graduation. An accomplished student, Sibanda received the Karen Vogel Prize in Political Science, a recognition for high achievement and student activity in international organizations, diplomacy and public policy. Sibanda’s additional campus engagement included memberships in the Hamline African Students Association and the PRIDE Black Student Alliance. She also served as a global mentor and president to Hamline’s Model United Nations. Since 2016, Sibanda has attended the annual National Model United Nations Conference in New York and served as chair to the International Telecommunications Union at the 2018 conference. Following graduation, she will pursue her graduate degree in political science with a focus on international relations and transnational government at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Ronald C. Petersen, MD, PhD ’68, undergraduate ceremony speaker, receiving Doctor of Humane Letters  

During the Hamline University undergraduate portion of the commencement ceremony, alumnus Ronald C. Petersen, MD, PhD ’68 will speak and receive a Doctor of Humane Letters in recognition of his significant contributions to Alzheimer’s research. In 2015, Dr. Petersen received the Hamline University Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award. Currently, Dr. Petersen is the Cora Kanow Professor of Alzheimer’s Disease Research at the Mayo Clinic, and he serves as director of the Mayo Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the 2004 MetLife Award for medical research in Alzheimer’s disease and the 2005 Potamkin Prize for Research in Picks, Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders of the American Academy of Neurology. Dr. Petersen also received the inaugural Ronald and Nancy Reagan Research Institute Award in 2004 from the Alzheimer’s Association and the inaugural Leon Thal Prize of the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute in 2007. In 2012, he received the Khachaturian Award and the Henry Wisniewski Lifetime Achievement Award from the Alzheimer’s Association. In 2011, he was appointed by the secretary of health and human services to serve as the chair of the Advisory Committee on Research, Care and Services for the National Alzheimer’s Disease Plan and in 2014, he was appointed to the World Dementia Council by the UK government.

The Honorable Anne K. McKeig JD ’92, graduate ceremony speaker, receiving Doctor of Laws   

The graduate degree Commencement ceremony will include the conferring of the Doctor of Laws degree upon Hamline University School of Law ’92 alumna and Minnesota Supreme Court justice The Honorable Anne. K McKeig, who will also address the graduates and guests. Justice McKeig served as assistant Hennepin County attorney for over 16 years, handling child protection cases and adoption matters with a specialty in cases involving the Indian Child Welfare Act. She was appointed to the district court bench in 2008 by Governor Tim Pawlenty.  She served as presiding judge in family court of the Fourth Judicial District (Hennepin County), located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. During her tenure, she worked to improve outcomes for families facing domestic violence issues. In September 2016, she became the first Native American female in the United States to be appointed to any US state supreme court when Governor Mark Dayton appointed her to Minnesota’s highest court. Justice McKeig currently teaches at both Mitchell Hamline School of Law in Saint Paul and St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis. Justice McKeig is a descendent of the White Earth Nation and a native of Federal Dam in Northern Minnesota, where she grew up on the Leech Lake reservation. She is married and a proud mother of five children.