The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life is committed to reflecting religious, racial, cultural, and practice diversities in its choices of baccalaureate speakers.

row of people dressed in graduate robes sitting on stage.
Office of Religious and Spiritual Life held its annual Baccalaureate Service in Finney Chapel. Seated on stage include ORSL director David Dorsey, and the event’s speakers and award recipients. Photo credit: Yevhen Gulenko
Matthew Fox
Photo credit: Courtesy of

Keynote Speaker

Matthew Fox is a spiritual theologian, an Episcopal priest and an activist for gender justice and eco-justice.  He presented the Multifaith Baccalaureate Address on the topic, “12 Years, What Now?” regarding the 2019 United Nations Climate report, which will serve as an urgent call to action to the Class of 2019.

Fox has written 37 books that have been translated into other languages over 70 times. Among them are Original Blessing, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, A Spirituality Named Compassion, The Reinvention of Work, The Hidden Spirituality of Men, Christian Mystics, and The Pope’s War. He has contributed much to the rediscovery of Hildegard of Bingen, Meister Eckhart, and Thomas Aquinas as premodern mystics and prophets.

In 1989 while at Holy Names College (now University) in Oakland, Fox was silenced for a year by the Vatican under Pope John Paul II and later Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Benedict. Three years later, he was expelled after 34 years in the Dominican Order. He was charged with being a feminist theologian; referring to God as “Mother,’’ using Original Blessing rather than Original Sin; not condemning homosexuality; and working too closely with American Indians.

These matters did not dissuade him from speaking out. His books have been translated into 67 languages, he maintains a blog, and is the founder of the University of Creation Spirituality in California, where he conducts dozens of workshops each year. He has since taught at Stanford University, Vancouver School of Theology, the California Institute of Integral Studies, and the Omega Institute, among other places. 

In joining the Episcopal church more than 20 years ago, Fox has been working with young people to reinvent forms of worship by bringing elements of rave such as dance, dj, vj, and more into the Western Liturgy. Referred to as the Cosmic Mass, it has been celebrated over 100 times and in dozens of cities in North America. 

Fox is the recipient of the Abbey Courage of Conscience Peace Award, the Ghandi King Ikeda Award, the Tikkun National Ethics Award, among others. He holds a doctorate in the history and theology of spirituality at the Institut Catholique de Paris.

He is currently a visiting scholar at the Academy of the Love of Learning in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and resides in Vallejo, California.

The ceremony took place Sunday, May 26 in Finney Chapel. Conservatory students opened the ceremony with musical performances by a chamber ensemble and soloists on piano and organ.

Multifaith Baccalaureate Ceremony

View Multifaith Baccalaureate Ceremony and other events on Flickr