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Human rights proponent to speak at Keuka College

Sister Helen Prejean, the human rights proponent whose efforts to abolish capital punishment were dramatized in the film “Dead Man Walking,” will deliver the College’s 32nd annual Carl and Fanny Fribolin President’s Forum Lecture.

The event, which will be held on Thursday, April 30, at 5 p.m. in the College’s Norton Chapel, is free and open to the public.

Sister Helen will then deliver the Invocation during Keuka College’s inauguration of President Amy Storey on Friday, May 1.

“Sister Helen is a paragon of human rights and a role model for women everywhere,” said President Storey, the 20th person and third woman to lead the institution. “She has long been a determined and persuasive voice for positive change and it will be an honor to have her on campus.”

Keuka College faculty are incorporating the writings of Sister Helen into their curricula to promote College-wide conversation up to and as part of the Fribolin Lecture, which will again take the form of a fireside chat with President Storey. The president’s forum this year is sponsored in part by Keuka College trustee and social justice advocate Anne Barden Waasdorp.

Sister Helen, who joined the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1957, is known the world over for her work in opposition to the death penalty. She has been instrumental in sparking national dialogue on capital punishment and in shaping the Catholic Church’s position against all executions. And she has been a vocal advocate of diversity and inclusion – tenets also espoused by recent Fribolin lecturers Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, author of “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” and Eboo Patel, founder and president of the Interfaith Youth Core.

Sister Helen is the author of three books: River of Fire: My Spiritual Journey; The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions; and Dead Man Walking. A 1995 movie based on the latter featured Susan Sarandon portraying Sister Helen, a role for which Sarandon won the Academy Award for best actress.

Keuka College’s inauguration for President Storey will take place on Friday, May 1, at 3 p.m. in the College’s Norton Chapel. The day’s events will also include a student luncheon at noon and a gala reception at 7 p.m. at the College’s JMW Recreation & Athletics Center.