Lincoln College announces 146th commencement ceremony; Brenda Chapman and Justice James Knecht to receive honorary degrees
April 23, 2013, Lincoln College announced its 146th commencement ceremony will be held Saturday, May 4, beginning at 2 p.m. The ceremony will be held in the Jack D. Nutt Arena in the Lincoln Center. This year’s commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients are animation artist and Academy Award winner Brenda Chapman and Justice James A. Knecht.
James A. Knecht
A Beason, Ill., native, Chapman earned her Associate of Arts from Lincoln College in 1982. She went on to earn her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts followed by a career at Walt Disney Feature Animation Studios. She worked as a story artist on a number of Disney’s most beloved animated films including The Little Mermaid, The Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and the Beast, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Fantasia/2000. She left Disney to help launch DreamWorks Animation Studios, where she directed the 1998 release The Prince of Egypt, the first animated feature film directed by a woman for a major Hollywood studio. She joined Pixar Animation Studios in September 2003 where she created, wrote and directed the Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe winning Brave. Chapman is currently consulting for Lucasfilm.
Knecht grew up in Lincoln, Ill., and credits his decision to attend law school and become a judge to his childhood spent watching judges and attorneys coming from and going to the Logan County courthouse. He graduated from Illinois State University and the University of Illinois College of Law where he was Order of the Coif and an editor of the Law Review. He has taught at Illinois State University and the University of Illinois College of Law, and has been a judge for 38 years. Knecht currently serves as a Justice of the Appellate Court, Fourth District.
Ms. Taylor Perry of Lincoln, Ill., will deliver the student address. In her two years at Lincoln College, Perry has served as a Student Ambassador, been a co-captain of the cheerleading squad, been vice-president of the academic honor society Phi Theta Kappa, and earned Special Honors recognition for maintaining a 4.0 grade point average. Perry is the daughter of Tom and Teri Perry of Lincoln.
Lincoln College freshman and ordained Baptist minister Michael Coley of Decatur, Ill., will give the invocation and the benediction.
This will be the first commencement for Lincoln College’s 21st president, John D. Blackburn. Blackburn came to Lincoln College last year after retiring from a 30-year career with COUNTRY Financial, including having served as CEO from 2001 to 2012.
In all, 171 candidates are eligible to receive an Associate’s degree. Lincoln College will also award one bachelor’s degree through its theatre program.