Lonnie Bunch
Lonnie Bunch

Lonnie Bunch III,  a leading voice and scholar on African American issues and history, will deliver Roosevelt University’s Dec. 15 Commencement address and receive an honorary degree.

The recipient of numerous awards for his work in museums and for bringing history to the people, Bunch is the founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened in 2016 with a mission of helping audiences to see African American history as American history. 

Bunch previously served as president of the Chicago Historical Society where he initiated unprecedented outreach into diverse communities, launched the noted “Teen Chicago” exhibition and led a successful capital campaign in celebration of the historical society’s 150th anniversary.

The 2017 winner of the NAACP’s prestigious President Award and on Ebony Magazine’s 2016 list of the 100 most significant African Americans, Bunch will address Roosevelt graduates at 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 15 in the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago.

“Lonnie Bunch is not only a distinguished historian, author, curator and educator, but also a leading figure in our nation’s historical and museum community,” said Ali Malekzadeh, president of Roosevelt University. “We are pleased to be able to have him as our Commencement speaker and to award him an honorary doctorate degree.”

A prolific author on a wide range of topics including slavery, the black military experience, the American presidency, diversity in museum management and the impact of funding and politics on American museums, Bunch most recently authored for the World Economic Forum an article on “America, Slavery and how Museums can help to heal Fractured Societies.” He has lectured widely to museum professionals and scholars around the world. 

During the Commencement ceremony, Bunch will speak to more than 400 Roosevelt new graduates from the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Performing Arts. He also will receive Roosevelt’s highest honorary degree, the Doctor of Social Justice, honoris causa.

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