St. Louis Educator, Activist to Serve as Fontbonne Commencement Speaker

Fontbonne University will host commencement exercises Saturday, May 16, welcoming Dr. Leah Gunning Francis as commencement speaker.

When Fontbonne University holds its 2015 commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 16, Dr. Leah Gunning Francis, associate dean of contextual education at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, will serve as the commencement speaker.

Gunning Francis is an award-winning preacher, educator and human rights advocate who has devoted her career to ensuring the spiritual, emotional and physical well-being of women, men and children, with particular interest in underserved and minority communities. She draws on her marketing experience, pastoral leadership and academic training to creatively equip students, clergy and congregations for transformative social action. Gunning Francis holds a bachelor’s degree from Hampton University, a master’s degree from Emory University and a doctorate from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Her upcoming book, “Ferguson and Faith: Sparking Leadership and Awakening Community,” is a collection of stories and hope that she anticipates will encourage positive changes in the community.

Graduate students will commence at 10 a.m., and undergraduate students will commence at 2 p.m. Both ceremonies will take place in the Dunham Student Activity Center on Fontbonne University’s Clayton campus, 6800 Wydown Blvd., St. Louis, Mo., 63105.

Fontbonne University is a Catholic coeducational institution of higher education offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in the liberal arts and professional studies, as well as evening and online programs for working adults. Fontbonne was founded in 1923 and is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. To learn more, visit


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About Fontbonne University

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Elizabeth Brennan
Press Contact, Fontbonne University
Fontbonne University
6800 Wydown Blvd.
Saint Louis, MO 63105