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Commencement speaker named: apartheid investigator

January 31, 2011


GoldstoneThe class officers of the class of 2011 are proud to announce this year’s Commencement speaker: Richard Joseph Goldstone. In a notice sent to members of the class, the officers said they were “thrilled” with Goldstone’s acceptance of their invitation to speak.

Born in South Africa, Goldstone graduated from University of the Witwatersrand with a BB LLB cum laude in 1962. Justice Goldstone has pursued a distinguished and demanding career: First, as a justice of the Constitutional and Supreme Courts in South Africa, then as chief prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Most recently he led a UN Human Rights Council investigative mission into conditions in Gaza caused by the ongoing tensions between Israeli forces and Hamas.

Of these accomplishments, he is most praised for his investigations and rulings that weakened apartheid in South Africa. Working from inside the South African legal system, he was able to help shift both codified law and public opinion away from the racist elements of their system and toward a genuine respect for human rights. The rest of his work follows a similar pattern, sharing a concern with the fundamental liberties all people deserve and the justice required to obtain them.

Beloit students pride themselves in their pursuit of issues they believe in, and Justice Goldstone’s tenacity as a judge, teacher, and investigator is an exemplary model of passion channeled into meaningful action.