Academy Award winner John Ridley — a Milwaukee native, director, screenwriter, novelist, playwright and showrunner — will serve as Marquette University’s Commencement speaker via video remarks in a special recorded Virtual Commencement event that is part of the university’s full slate of Commencement Weekend activities, Marquette University announced Thursday.
“John Ridley is a superb role model for our graduates as someone who illustrates the principle of intellectual excellence and has made social justice his life’s calling,” Marquette President Michael R. Lovell said in a statement. “His novels, screenplays and other writings regarding race relations and justice resonate with a Catholic, Jesuit education, in which critical thinking is the cornerstone of learning. His ability to so capably communicate the importance of storytelling in understanding our human experience will give our graduates a fitting and inspiring end to their Marquette journey.”
As part of his recorded remarks, Ridley will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree.
Ridley won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for 12 Years a Slave in 2013, and his critically acclaimed documentary about the Los Angeles uprising, Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992, premiered in theaters and aired on ABC in 2017.