Sasse, Smith to receive honorary degrees at Commencement

Grove City College will award honorary degrees to U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse and Rev. Rufus Smith IV during the College’s 139th Commencement to recognize their outstanding achievements and leadership.

Sasse will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree and Smith, an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree.

Sasse will also address the Class of 2019 at the ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 18 on campus. Smith is scheduled to speak during the College’s annual Baccalaureate service at 7 p.m. Friday, May 17. Both events will be held on the College’s Quad. In the event of inclement weather, events will be held in the College Arena in the Physical Learning Center.

Sasse, a Nebraska Republican, has been described as a legislator who seeks consensus without sacrificing his principles and as a truth-teller unafraid to call out bad behavior on either side of the political aisle. Sasse is also a best-selling author, writing several books that have significantly impacted the national conversation on our values and social climate. “Them: Why We Hate Each Other – and How to Heal” is Sasse’s prescription for putting political tribalism on the backburner, rediscovering “human-to-human relationships” and love of neighbor. “The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis – and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance” is a New York Times best seller on the undeniable connections between how we raise our children and the future of our country.

Smith is senior pastor of Hope Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tenn., and founder of Memphis Christian Pastor’s Network, an ethnically and denominationally diverse group of pastors that cultivates trust and collaboration between clergy to address economic disparity in the city. Previously Smith was senior pastor of The City of Refuge Presbyterian Church in his hometown of Houston, Texas. There he founded the Forge for Families, a community development center designed to empower the under-resourced. Under his leadership, the Forge successfully completed a $6.4 million-dollar capital campaign and built a 40,000 square-foot campus, debt free. He also served as lead chaplain for the NBA’s Houston Rockets for three years.

Both Commencement and Baccalaureate are free and open to the public, weather permitting. If events are moved into the Arena, tickets will be required for entrance and are available first to students and their families.

Both events will be livestreamed at

Sasse, Smith to receive honorary degrees at Commencement

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