Cardinal Turkson to be featured speaker at USF 2021 Commencement

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The University of Saint Francis (USF) announced that Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson will be the featured speaker for the 2021 Commencement.

“Cardinal Turkson’s appearance at our commencement is a tremendous honor for the university. We are grateful for his willingness to come to Fort Wayne and share his wisdom with our graduates and the community. We look forward to his appearance with great anticipation,” said USF President Rev. Dr. Eric Albert Zimmer.

Commencement will be at 2 p.m. on May 1 at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Avenue. This year’s ceremony is for 2020 and 2021 USF graduates. Updated information on attendance will be available at

Cardinal Turkson bio:

Pope Francis talks with Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson during his weekly general audience, in Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Cardinal Turkson was appointed by Pope Francis as the first Prefect for the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development in January 2017. Working closely with Pope Francis, Cardinal Turkson leads the Vatican’s teaching and advocacy on issues of justice and peace, economic inequality, and global solidarity. 

Cardinal Turkson was named the first Ghanaian Cardinal in 2003. He was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in 2009 and reconfirmed by Pope Francis in 2013. A champion of environmentalism and sustainability, Cardinal Turkson provided the draft of Laudato Si, On Care for Our Common Home, to Pope Francis prior to the declaration of the Pontiff’s encyclical on the environment and human ecology in May 2015.  

Cardinal Turkson began his higher education at St. Teresa’s Seminary in Amisano, Ghana, and St. Peter’s Regional Seminary in Pedu, Ghana. He earned a Master of Theology from St. Anthony-on-Hudson, Conv. Fransican Seminary, New York. He continued his studies in Rome at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, earning a license in Sacred Scripture, and then began work on his doctoral thesis. In addition, he has been awarded numerous honorary degrees and speaks six languages (Fante, English, French, Italian, German, Hebrew).

Early in his career, Cardinal Turkson served as staff, chaplain and lecturer at seminaries in Ghana and on the Ivory Coast. He was appointed Archbishop of Cape Coast by St. John Paul II in 2003. In addition, he served as president of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference for 17 years, has been a Chancellor of the Catholic University College of Ghana since 2003, and has held various memberships and officer positions for councils and boards, including Chairman of the Ghana Chapter of the Conference of Religions for Peace and Ghana National Peace Council. He participated in the conclave of April 2005, which elected Pope Benedict XVI and in the conclave of March 2013, which elected Pope Francis. 

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