Monmouth College’s 167th Annual Commencement Exercises to be held May 19, Featuring Address by Actress Sigourney Weaver and Husband, Jim Simpson


Featuring an address by a couple famous for their contributions to stage and screen, Monmouth College will hold its 167th annual Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 19.

Writer and director Jim Simpson and his wife, actress Sigourney Weaver, will deliver the Commencement address to about 165 members of the Class of 2024 at noon on the Wallace Hall Plaza, weather permitting. Simpson and Weaver, who have been married for nearly 40 years, will speak on the theme of “creative partnership.”

The rain site will be the Huff Athletic Center.

At 2 p.m. Saturday, May 18, the Rev. Charles Burton ’92 will present the Baccalaureate sermon in Dahl Chapel and Auditorium.

A distinguished writer and director, Simpson has directed more than 70 works for the theatre, as well as directing for film and television. He is a two-time winner of an Obie Award, which honors off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway productions in New York City. He also received the 2002 National Board of Review Excellence in Filmmaking award for The Guys, the story of a New York City fire captain who struggles to prepare and deliver eulogies for eight firefighters he lost on 9/11.

Simpson is the brother of Monmouth College trustee and 1974 alumna Gail Simpson Owen.

Weaver is one of America’s most respected and celebrated actors. Her professional career began on the stage in 1974 while she was still a student. In the next few years, she appeared in numerous theatre productions and in television and film roles.

Weaver’s breakthrough role came in 1979 as she played Lt. Ellen Ripley in the film Alien. She received the first of her Academy Award and Golden Globe Best Actress nominations for that role, and she’s also been nominated for numerous Emmy, Tony, Grammy, BAFTA and other awards over the course of her career.

In addition to Simpson and Weaver, Lillian Hucke ’24 of Aledo, Illinois, will address the graduating class. Last fall, Hucke was named Monmouth’s recipient of the Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award, thereby becoming a Student Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois.

A bi-vocational pastor, Burton serves the congregation of Unity Fellowship Church in Godfrey, Illinois, and was recently named the chief human resources officer for Webster University.

His academic credentials include a law degree from Washington (Missouri) University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Monmouth, where he served as president of the student body and was the NCAA Division III national champion in the 400-meter hurdles his senior year.

Other events on Saturday, May 18, include the Honor Walk at 3:30 p.m. and the Senior Send-Off at 8 p.m. For the latter event, the graduates will gather at April Zorn Memorial Stadium, where the Alumni and Development Office will welcome them into the Monmouth Alumni Association. A ceremony there will include a congratulatory toast and conclude with fireworks.

The Commencement and Baccalaureate ceremonies will be streamed on the College’s YouTube channel,

***Courtesy of Barry McNamara, Monmouth College***

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