Whittier College News Release
Office of Public Relations
13406 Philadelphia St.
P.O. Box 634
Whittier, CA 90608-0634
May 14, 2004
Reference: 03/04: 53
Contact: Judy Browning at (562) 907-4216
Pastor of L.A.’s First AME Church is Keynote Commencement Speaker at
Dr. Cecil L. “Chip”
Murray, distinguished pastor of the First African Methodist Episcopal
Church of Los Angeles, will be the speaker at Whittier College’s 101st
commencement on Friday, May 21, in Memorial Stadium on campus. Ceremonies
begin at 9 a.m. Bachelor’s degrees will be awarded to 270 students, and
the college will present master’s degrees to 46 candidates.
Murray will also be
awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree, along with Simon A.
Levin, the George M. Moffett Professor of Biology at Princeton University;
Martin Ortiz ’48, director emeritus of the Center of Mexican American
Affairs at Whittier College; and B. LaRae Orullian, corporate leader and
past national president and former chair of the Girl Scouts of the USA.
Murray is the dynamic
spiritual leader of the oldest black church in Los Angeles. His ministry
reaches beyond the walls of the church with initiatives to address the
community’s most pressing needs, including health, substance abuse,
homelessness, emergency food and clothing, housing, tutoring,
entrepreneurial training, and employment services.
With an undergraduate
degree from Florida A&M University and a doctorate in religion from the
School of Theology at Claremont, Murray was assigned to his church in 1977
when it had 300 members. The First African Methodist Episcopal Church of
Los Angeles now has over 17,300 active members.
Levin is the founding
director of the Princeton Environmental Institute. He is a leader in
environmental research, and his paper in the journal Ecology, “The problem
of pattern and scale of ecology,” was the most cited publication in the
field in the 1990s. Recently awarded the prestigious Heineken Prize for
Environmental Sciences by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and
Sciences, Levin is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the
American Philosophical Society, as well as a Fellow of the American
Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the
Advancement of Science.
The impact of his work
has been acknowledged with a MacArthur Award and Distinguished Service
Citation, and the Society of Mathematical Biology’s first Okubo Lifetime
Ortiz, a 1948 graduate of
Whittier, has served the college for more than 40 years. Upon his
retirement in 2003, he was honored with the title director emeritus of the
Center of Mexican American Affairs. In his role as director, he guided the
college careers of thousands of students, many of whom were the first in
their families to attend college. The college’s Hispanic alumni
association, Alianza de los Amigos, was founded under his leadership, and
he helped raise thousands of dollars for scholarships. His commitment
contributed significantly to Whittier’s distinction as one of the
country’s most diverse national liberal arts colleges.
Ortiz has been involved
with numerous other community organizations, including the Pasadena
Tournament of Roses Association, the LA County Human Relations Committee,
and the National Hispanic Task Force of the Social Security
Orullian is a pioneering banker and volunteer. She served as president and
chief executive officer of the Women’s Bank (now Colorado Business Bank),
whose mission was to provide women a way to get involved in banking, both
as consumers and employees.
Currently the vice chair
of the board of Guaranty Bank, Orullian lends her expertise to several
publicly and non-publicly traded companies. Her passion for improving
opportunities available to women and girls extended to the top volunteer
position with the Girl Scouts in America. She is first vice chair of the
World Board of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, based in England.
Located 18 miles east of
Los Angeles, Whittier College is an independent, four-year college
offering traditional liberal arts majors and strong pre-professional
programs taught in the context of the liberal arts. Whittier Law School,
which is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the
Association of American Law Schools, is located on a separate campus in