FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 1, 2008
STATEMENT BY ALAN K. CUBBAGE, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY
VICE PRESIDENT FOR UNIVERSITY RELATIONS
EVANSTON, Ill. — Earlier this academic year, acting on the recommendation of faculty committees, Northwestern University extended an invitation to the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, former senior minister of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, to receive an honorary Doctorate of Sacred Theology at Northwestern’s Commencement in June. Commencement at Northwestern is a time of celebration of the accomplishments of Northwestern’s graduating students and their families. In light of the controversy around Dr. Wright and to ensure that the celebratory character of Commencement not be affected, the University has withdrawn its invitation to Dr. Wright.
Dr. Wright was quoted as saying that his invitation to receive an honorary degree was withdrawn by Northwestern President Henry Bienen because Dr. Wright “wasn’t patriotic enough.” If Dr. Wright was quoted accurately, that statement is not true. In his conversation and correspondence with Dr. Wright in March, President Bienen never characterized Dr. Wright’s views or made a judgment about them. The letter said, “In light of the controversy surrounding statements made by you that have recently been publicized, the celebratory character of Northwestern’s commencement would be affected by our conferring of this honorary degree. Thus I am withdrawing the offer of an honorary degree previously extended to you.”