Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) will give Harvard University's commencement address in May, the school announced Wednesday.
“For more than 50 years, John Lewis has dedicated himself to the ideals of equality and decency, standing up for what is right, even when it meant putting himself in harm’s way,” Harvard President Drew Faust said in a statement. “His public service legacy is unparalleled, and he is an inspiration to me and to countless other people across the United States and around the world."
Lewis, who has been a member of Congress for more than three decades, has a history with the Ivy League university. He holds an honorary degree from Harvard (as well as from several other schools, including Columbia, Duke, Howard and Princeton). He is a graduate of both Fisk University and the American Baptist Theological Seminary.
Lewis also took part in a 2016 ceremony at Harvard where the university unveiled a plaque honoring four enslaved people who worked for Harvard presidents in the 1700s. And last year, the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School honored Lewis with the Gleitsman Citizen Activist Award for his 60-year career of advancing human rights.