Human rights champion to address Kentucky Wesleyan College Graduates at 152nd Commencement

Kentucky Wesleyan College will celebrate the institution’s 152nd Annual Commencement on Saturday, April 25, at 10 a.m. via a virtual online ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event will premiere via Facebook Live (

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The College looks forward to hosting an on-campus commencement with the graduates and their families on Sept. 25 during Homecoming 2020. The ceremony will be a dual celebration also featuring the Inauguration of President Thomas Mitzel.

Attorney and law professor Stephen B. Bright will address the Class of 2020 during the virtual ceremony.

“Stephen Bright has been a champion of human rights throughout his legal career, and his life exemplifies service to others,” said President Thomas Mitzel. “We are honored that he will address our students this year.”

Stephen B. Bright is a graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Law who has been practicing law since 1975.

After representing poor people as a legal services attorney and public defender, he began representing people in capital cases in 1979.

Mr. Bright tried death penalty cases before juries in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi, argued capital cases before state and federal appellate courts, including four arguments before the United States Supreme Court, and argued many other cases before state and federal appellate courts.

Subjects of his litigation, teaching and writing include capital punishment, legal representation for poor people accused of crimes, conditions and practices in prisons and jails, racial discrimination in the criminal justice system, and judicial independence. He received the American Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award in 1998.

He was director and president of the Southern Center for Human Rights, where he spent 34 years.

The Fulton Daily Law Report, a legal newspaper in Georgia, named Mr. Bright “Newsmaker of the Year” in 2003 for his contribution to bringing about creation of a public defender system in Georgia. He has taught at Yale Law School since 1993 and now also teaches at the law school at Georgetown University.

For more details about Kentucky Wesleyan College’s 152nd Annual Commencement, please visit our Commencement Page.

To view the 2020 Commencement program, please click below.