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Hendrix College 2018 Commencement Set for May 12, Includes Honorary Degree for Jo Luck ’63

CONWAY, Ark. (April 2, 2018) – Hendrix College will award the honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters to former Heifer International CEO Jo Luck at the 134th Hendrix College Commencement, which will take place Saturday, May 12, 2018, at 9 a.m. in the Wellness and Athletic Center Event Gym. Hendrix College President William M. Tsutsui will give the commencement address.

About Jo Luck

After teaching in Nashville, San Diego, and Little Rock, Jo Luck became involved in politics and worked for Arkansas Governors Bumpers, Pryor, White, and Clinton. She served on Governor Clinton’s state cabinet as Director of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism from 1979 to 1989 before taking the position of International Program Director at Heifer International for three years. In 1992, she became President and CEO of the anti-hunger non-governmental organization, and remained there until her 2011 retirement. During that time the non-profit grew from an annual income of $7 million to $130 million, providing sustainable development assistance and dignity to millions of farmers and families in developing countries and in the United States.

In 2010, Luck was named World Food Prize Laureate, an international honor often referred to by world leaders as the “Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture.” Luck currently works as a consultant on global food security issues and the empowerment of women in developing countries. She recently completed her term as Chair of the Program Oversight Panel for Aquatic Agricultural Systems for WorldFish (CIGAR) based in Penang, Malaysia. She was a President Obama appointee to the Board for International Food and Agriculture Development (BIFAD) advising the Administrator of USAID in the State Department; a member of the Global Agriculture Development International Committee, Chicago Council of Global Affairs; and a member of the DuPont Advisory Committee on Agricultural Innovation and Productivity for the 21st Century.

She has traveled to 65 countries in her work to end hunger, visiting rural poverty-stricken communities and speaking to conferences, colleges and universities, and delivering commencement addresses (including Hendrix College’s 2003 address). She attributes her success to never compromising her core values and truly listening to those she has served.

The College honored her in 2004 with its first-ever Odyssey Medal given for Service to the World. In addition to being a Hendrix alumna, Luck is also the proud mother of two alumni, Beth Wilson Gray ’94 and Mark Wilson ’93.

Commencement Speaker

Hendrix College President and Professor of History William M. “Bill” Tsutsui will deliver the commencement address to the Class of 2018. Tsutsui began his presidency in 2014, the same year this class entered Hendrix. 

“Having been at Hendrix for four full academic years now, in some ways I consider this to be my senior year alongside these fantastic, dedicated students,” Tsutsui said. “While I’ll be sticking around, it will be an honor to bid them farewell as they move on to what’s next.”

Tsutsui, who is a professor of history in addition to his role as president, holds degrees from Harvard, Oxford, and Princeton universities. He previously served as dean of Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences at Southern Methodist University from 2010 to 2014. Prior to joining SMU, Tsutsui spent 17 years at the University of Kansas, where he served as acting director of KU’s Center for East Asian Studies, chair of the Department of History, founding executive director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Kansas, and associate dean for International Studies in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

An award-winning classroom teacher, Tsutsui is the author or editor of eight books, including Manufacturing Ideology: Scientific Management in Twentieth-Century Japan, Godzilla on My Mind: Fifty Years of the King of Monsters, and Japanese Popular Culture and Globalization, as well as numerous articles on modern Japanese history. He has received Fulbright, ACLS, and Marshall fellowships, and was awarded the John Whitney Hall Prize of the Association for Asian Studies in 2000, the William Rockhill Nelson Prize for Non-Fiction in 2005, and the inaugural Bridges to Friendship Award from the Japan America Society of Greater Austin in 2015. His teaching and research focus on the business, environmental, and cultural history of twentieth-century Japan.

Additional Details

Overflow seating will be available in the Recreation Gym and in the Student Life and Technology Center (SLTC), where the ceremony will be telecast.

The Class of 2018 will process through the Recreation Gym, where the Hendrix Wind Ensemble will perform, with their music broadcast into the Event Gym.

Immediately following commencement, there will be a faculty reception for graduates in the Young-Wise Memorial Stadium Plaza (or in the Recreation Gym in the event of rain).

For more information, visit

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit