Liberia's president to give commencement speech at UT

03/30/09 Mitch E. Perry
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The University of Tampa announced today that the president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, will give the commencement address at the school’s graduation ceremonies in May. She will also receive an honorary doctorate in humane letters.

In November of 2005, Sirleaf became Africa’s first female elected head of state.

It was a huge comeback for Sirleaf, who was imprisoned in the 1980s for criticizing the military regime of then-President Samuel Doe. She later backed Charles Taylor’s rebellion before falling out with him and being charged with treason after he became president. She twice went into exile to escape her legal problems with those governments.

Eric Cardenas is the director of Public Information at the University of Tampa. He said the school had somewhat of an inside connection to woo the woman known as Africa’s “Iron Lady.”

The UT commencement will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday May 9 at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa. The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited.

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