Speakers with a shared focus on connections among religion, race, and justice – one, a minister who founded a dynamic San Francisco congregation; the other, a forceful voice on faith and spirituality – will offer Baccalaureate remarks at Stanford in June.

The Rev. Dr. Yvette A. Flunder, pastor of the City of Refuge United Church of Christ, will speak at the service for 2020 graduates, and Simran Jeet Singh, a professor, author, and advocate, will address 2022 graduates.

The Baccalaureate celebrations – multifaith gatherings for graduates and their families and friends – will be Friday, June 10, at Frost Amphitheater, as part of Stanford’s 131st Commencement Weekend. Stanford has also invited 2021 graduates, some of whom were unable to be on campus for their Commencement, to participate in ceremonies with 2020 graduates.

“We are honored and excited to hear from Bishop Yvette Flunder and Simran Jeet Singh, two powerful leaders who have long labored at the intersections of faith and justice,” said the Rev. Dr. Tiffany Steinwert, dean for religious and spiritual life. “Drawing from their diverse wisdom traditions and life experiences, they will inspire and ground our new and recent graduates as they journey far beyond campus, working on behalf of all humanity to create a better, more just and peaceful world.”

Yvette A. Flunder (Image credit: Courtesy Yvette A. Flunder)

Bishop Yvette A. Flunder’s work for “those most marginalized in church and in society” led to the founding of the City of Refuge church. She was consecrated Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, a multidenominational coalition of more than 100 primarily African American Christian leaders and laity, in 2003.

Flunder is an award-winning gospel music artist and author of Where the Edge Gathers: A Theology of Homiletic and Radical Inclusion.

She graduated from the Certificate of Ministry and MA programs at Pacific School of Religion and received her DMin from San Francisco Theological Seminary. She serves on the board of the DEMOS think tank, is a senior fellow at Auburn Theological Seminary and Andover Newton Seminary, and has served as an adjunct professor and speaker at numerous seminaries and universities.

“I am deeply grateful to be chosen to share as speaker for the Stanford Baccalaureate,” Flunder said. “In this often-challenging time, I am particularly mindful of the importance of our joining our collective hopes, skills, and intention to work together for a better world.”

Simran Jeet Singh (Image credit: Courtesy Simran Jeet Singh)

Simran Jeet Singh was included on TIME magazine’s Fighting for a More Equal America list because of his commitment to “fairness for all faiths.” He is executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Religion & Society Program, a visiting professor of history and religion at Union Theological Seminary, and a Soros Equality Fellow with the Open Society Foundations.

Singh is a columnist for Religion News Service and his commentary has also appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN. He is the author of the forthcoming book The Light We Give: The Power of Sikh Wisdom to Transform Your Life.

He holds an MA, MPhil, and PhD from Columbia University, an MTS from Harvard University, and a BA from Trinity University.

“This invitation is especially meaningful at a time when our lives feel difficult and the world feels uncertain,” Singh said. “Our wisdom traditions offer answers to some of the world’s most pressing questions, and I look forward to sharing some of what I’ve learned about how we might access the joy and compassion that each of us seeks.”

Stanford’s Baccalaureate services will be at 10 a.m. for the Class of 2022 and 4 p.m. for the Class of 2020, as well as participants from the Class of 2021, on Friday, June 10, at Frost Amphitheater. The following day France A. Córdova, an astrophysicist and leader in higher education and government, will speak at the 2020 Commencement ceremony, and Reed Hastings, co-founder and co-CEO of Netflix, will speak at the 2022 Commencement ceremony on Sunday, June 12. More details are available at the Commencement Weekend website.