Spring Hill College to award two honorary degrees at commencement May 11

Mon, 04/28/2008 (All day)

MOBILE – Spring Hill College will award honorary Doctor of Humane Letters to Win Hallett, president of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Rev. Stephen Sundborg, S.J., president of Seattle University, at the college’s commencement exercises on Sunday, May 11. More than 300 students will receive their diplomas on the historic Avenue of the Oaks beginning at 10 a.m. Sundborg will also give the commencement address.

A native Mobilian, Hallett has served as the Chamber of Commerce’s president since 1991. During his term, Mobile’s economy has become one of the fastest growing in the nation and thousands of new jobs have been created.  Mobile’s reputation as a place for business and industry growth has exploded across the nation and the world.  Recent announcements by steel giant ThyssenKrupp and Northrop Grumman/EADS to open plants in the area are just two notable examples of the recent economic successes.

Hallett graduated from Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Arts in economics.  Prior to his association with the Chamber, he owned and operated Hallett Building Materials.

On the national level, Hallett is chairman of the United States Chamber of Commerce’s Committee of 100 and a member of the Board of Directors and International Policy Committee of the U.S. Chamber. On the state level, he is a member of the board of directors for the Business Council of Alabama, the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama, and the Alabama District Export Council. He is on numerous local boards and committees, including the steering committee for Envision Mobile-Baldwin, the Board of the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science Foundation, and the University of South Alabama Business Executive Council.

Active in environmental conservation and preservation efforts, Hallett has served as president of the Alabama Wildlife Federation and on the board of directors of the Mobile County Wildlife and Conservation Association. In addition, he is vice president of the Coastal Land Trust. 

In July of 1997, Sundborg became the 21st president of Seattle University, a comprehensive, independent university of more than 7,500 students and 1,100 faculty and staff members. 

A native of Alaska, Sundborg entered the Society of Jesus in 1961 and was ordained a priest in Seattle in 1974. He completed his doctoral studies in spirituality at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in 1982, and he taught theology at Seattle University from 1982 to 1990. In 1986 he was appointed rector of the university’s Jesuit community, and he served as provincial of the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus from 1990 to 1996. 

As president, Sundborg has further developed and nurtured the university’s Jesuit and Catholic mission of educating the whole person, developing independent critical thinkers, deepening the understanding of faith, and promoting social justice.

Under his leadership, the university has constructed a new law school, student center, residential housing, Center for the Performing Arts, and the School of Theology and Ministry.

Sundborg is committed to promoting social justice and supports programs that encourage students, faculty and staff to make a difference in their local community and throughout the world. Seattle University hosted a homeless encampment during February 2005. During his presidency, Sundborg has bestowed honorary degrees on several social justice leaders including Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Corazon Aquino, and Walter Cardinal Kasper.