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Political Scientist Mary E. King to Speak at Ohio Wesleyan’s 2011 Commencement
OWU Class of 1962 Graduate Prominent in International Relations, Nonviolent Political Movements

February 28, 2011

Mary E. King ’62
Photo courtesy of Mary E. King ’62
DELAWARE, OH – Prize-winning author and political scientist Mary E. King will return to her alma mater to deliver the keynote address at Ohio Wesleyan University’s 167th commencement ceremony at 1 p.m. May 8 in Phillips Glen outside of Phillips Hall, 50 S. Henry St., Delaware. The event also will be streamed live online and archived afterward at StreamOWU.

Alina Ruzmetova, Ohio Wesleyan senior class president, said King’s selection as commencement speaker matches the desire of students to hear from a national speaker with a legacy of public service.

“The movements at OWU for the past several years have reflected Mary King’s global humanitarian and developmental efforts (on a smaller scale), “Ruzmetova said. “The advice given by Dr. Mary King to the Class of 2011 will be invaluable as we transition out of college on our paths toward local and global leadership.”

King is a professor of peace and conflict studies at the United Nations-affiliated University for Peace, whose main campus is in Costa Rica. She also is a distinguished scholar with the American University Center for Global Peace in Washington, D.C., and a Rothermere American Institute Fellow at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

From 1984 to 1993, King served as a special adviser to former President Jimmy Carter, acting as his personal emissary to political and business leaders in the Middle East, and she continues to assist his peacemaking efforts. When serving as deputy director of ACTION in Washington, D.C., from 1977 to 1981, she directed national volunteer service corps organizations including the Peace Corps and VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America).

King is an authority on nonviolent political movements, such as the recent Tunisian and Egyptian mobilizations. She worked alongside the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (no relation) following her graduation from Ohio Wesleyan in 1962 (Bachelor of Arts, English Literature). She later earned a doctoral degree in international politics from the University of Wales at Aberystwyth in the United Kingdom.

A prize-winning nonfiction author, King’s books include “Freedom Song: A Personal Story of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement,” for which she won a Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book Award; “Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.: The Power of Nonviolent Action;” and “The New York Times on Emerging Democracies in Eastern Europe.”

She has been credited as a central figure in starting the contemporary U.S. women’s movement by present-day historians, including Ruth Rosen in “The World Split Open: How the Women’s Movement Changed America.” King has received many awards including the Jamnalal Bajaj International Award for promoting Gandhian values. She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1992 and in 1989 was awarded a Distinguished Achievement Citation by Ohio Wesleyan (its highest recognition).


Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities, with more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 Division III varsity sports. Located in Delaware, Ohio, just minutes north of Ohio’s capital and largest city, Columbus, the university combines a globally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that translate classroom theory into real-world practice. OWU’s close-knit community of 1,850 students represents 45 states and 52 countries. Ohio Wesleyan earned a 2009 Presidential Award for Excellence in General Community Service, is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” and is included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.