FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 16, 2005
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Rik Kirkland, former managing editor and current global editor of FORTUNE magazine, will address the Birmingham-Southern class of 2005 during the college's 146th Commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 28.
The 1973 Birmingham-Southern graduate will keynote the 3:30 p.m. event in the Boutwell Auditorium in downtown Birmingham. More than 3,800 family members and friends are expected to attend Commencement, where Birmingham-Southern will confer some 305 bachelor's degrees and 15 master's degrees.
Birmingham-Southern's Commencement Day begins with the Baccalaureate Service at 10:30 a.m. in Bill Battle Coliseum on campus. Rev. Jerry Sisson, a 1958 BSC graduate and lifetime member and former chairman of the college's Board of Trustees, will be the keynote speaker.
The college's traditional Capping Ceremony is set for 6 p.m. on Friday, May 27, in Bill Battle Coliseum. During the ceremony, graduating students are “capped” with their mortar boards by a loved one or friend.
From 2001 until last month, Kirkland was managing editor of FORTUNE, where he oversaw and directed all editorial operations. In his years as managing editor, the magazine twice was nominated as a National Magazine Award Finalist for general excellence. Prior to becoming managing editor, Kirkland served from 1996-2001 as deputy managing editor, working to expand the magazine's audience, achieving newsstand leadership, and broadening coverage and the writing staff. Serving as European editor from 1985-89, he also directed the revival and expansion of FORTUNE's international editions.
As global editor, Kirkland covers political, economic, and international issues for FORTUNE and represents the magazine in a variety of public arenas.
Born in Ithaca, N.Y., and raised in Selma, Ala., he attended BSC on a Phi Beta Kappa scholarship and graduated summa cum laude. He also earned a master's degree from Duke University. Prior to joining FORTUNE, he taught English at Duke and at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Sisson is pastor emeritus at Canterbury United Methodist Church in Mountain Brook and has served as a clergy for 45 years in the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church where he was district superintendent for the Birmingham-West and Birmingham-East districts.