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Interfaith leader to speak at commencement

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Kayla Hockman
Staff Writer

Eboo Patel, an interfaith leader, will present the keynote address at the 2015 spring commencement ceremony May 30 at Citizen’s Business Bank Arena in Ontario.

“I love how diverse the La Verne community is and I’m excited to meet with the new graduates,” Patel said.

Patel is the founder and president of the Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based organization uniting youth of different religious and moral traditions nationally.

The group works to build a global youth interfaith movement.

Patel is also a member of President Barack Obama’s inaugural Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships.

Patel said that his address to the new graduates of the University of La Verne will focus on the importance of changing the world with an open heart and mind.

“My advice to La Verne students is, in the worlds of Frederick Buechner, ‘to find where your heart’s great gladness speaks the world’s greatest need,’” Patel said.

Patel currently spends his time visiting campuses nationally for speaking engagements and special events.

He previously has spoken at TED conferences, the Clinton Global Initiative and the Nobel Peace Prize Forum.

“I’ve seen him speak on TED Talks before and he is so intelligent and a great well- rounded speaker,” said senior criminology and psychology major Juan Mejia Simental. “I’m really excited to hear him speak at our commencement.”

Executive Office Manager of the Interfaith Youth Core Becca Hartman said that Patel is a big contributor to his community.

“He has a great mind and is a great contributor to the world,” she said.

This will not be Patel’s first speaking engagement at the Univeristy.

He spoke to La Verne students in 2013 about standing up for their religious beliefs, as a part of the Fasnacht Lecture series.

La Verne’s dedication to interfaith practice is the reason behind the selection of Patel.

The ceremony for the College of Arts and Sciences and LaFetra College of Education will be at 10 a.m. and the ceremony for the College of Business and Public Management will be at 3:30 p.m.

Kayla Hockman can be reached at

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