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5/12/2003 South African activist to present Linfield commencement address

McMINNVILLE – Alexander Boraine, an anti-apartheid activist and one of the architects of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, will present the keynote address at Linfield College's commencement exercises Sunday, June 1, at 10 a.m. in the Oak Grove.

Trinette V. McCray, immediate past president of the American Baptist Churches USA, will present the baccalaureate address Saturday, May 31, at 6 p.m. in the Ted Wilson Gymnasium. Closing convocation for the Portland Campus will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 31, at the First Baptist Church in Portland.

A total of 533 candidates for graduation will be presented at commencement exercises. There are 314 candidates for bachelor's degrees from the McMinnville Campus, 94 from the Portland Campus and 125 from the Adult Degree Program.

Boraine will also receive an honorary degree for his contributions to the advancement of human rights in his native South Africa and around the world. Boraine entered the world stage when he was appointed vice chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission by then President Nelson Mandela. The commission was the first to hold public hearings where both victims and perpetrators told their stories of human rights abuse in the era of apartheid.

Boraine's work for human rights did not begin with the commission. In 1974 he was elected to the South African Parliament as a member of the opposition Progressive Party. After twice winning re-election, he resigned his seat in 1986 to form the Institute for Democracy in South Africa together with van Zyl Slabbert, former leader of the opposition. The institute worked to promote negotiation politics in South Africa and to facilitate contact between those in exile and those still living in the country. In 1994, Boraine founded the Institute for Justice in Transition, a non-governmental organization which sought to help South Africans deal with the history and effects of the apartheid years and to facilitate the development of a culture of human rights and a respect for the rule of law.

Today, Boraine is a professor of law at New York University's Global Law School Program and president of the Tides Center/International Center for Transitional Justice. Through technical assistance, training, networking, documentation and strategic research, the center facilitates the efforts of governments and non-governmental organizations seeking to promote accountability after repressive rule or civil war. Boraine received a bachelor's degree from Rhodes University, a master's from Oxford University and a Ph.D. from Drew University.

McCray was the first clergywoman to be president of the American Baptist Churches USA, serving from 2000 to 2002. She is currently the executive director of the Office of Vocation Development at Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, Wisc., where she also serves as an adjunct faculty member in religious studies. In addition, she is the interim pastor of the Underwood Memorial Baptist Church in Wauwatosa, Wisc. She previously served as campus minister and director of multicultural relations at Cardinal Stritch University and as associate minister at Calvary Baptist Church in Milwaukee. She is a spiritual director and retreat leader and has established a consulting ministry called SANKOFA Ministries in Spirituality. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, the Morehouse School of Religion in Atlanta, Ga., and received her doctor of ministry degree from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary with emphasis in spirituality.