Retired Army Major Ivan Castro, author of “Fighting Blind: A Green Beret’s Story of Extraordinary Courage,” will present the commencement address for Methodist University’s 47th annual Winter Commencement Ceremony Saturday, Dec. 14 at 10 a.m. in the Crown Arena. The University will award 180 graduate and undergraduate degrees at the ceremony.
Castro, who was blinded when he took the brunt of a devastating mortar blast in Iraq in September 2006, overcame life-threatening injuries and went on to not only continue his military career, but also to complete over 60 marathons, cycle across America, summit Mount Kilimanjaro, and trek 221 miles across Antarctica to become the only blind American to ski to the South Pole.
Methodist University’s Winter Commencement Ceremony also will include a speech by Distinguished Graduate Alyssa Thomas, who was chosen by the graduating seniors, and the presentation of the Sam Edwards Award. The award is given to an outstanding MU at Night student and is determined by a faculty vote.
A baccalaureate service, “A Festival of Lessons and Carols,” will signal the start of Commencement weekend on Friday, Dec. 13, at 4:30 p.m. in Huff Concert Hall. Based on the annual Christmas Eve service at King’s College, Cambridge, this service will feature the Methodist University Chorale, organ, soloists, jazz, harp and readers from the winter graduating class leading the congregation in seasonal prayers, carols and hymns. The service is free of charge, and the public is invited to attend. A reception will follow in the adjacent Union-Zukowski Lobby and Gallery.