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John McCutcheon to give address during SJU Commencement ceremonies

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April 23, 2012

John McCutcheon '74

SJU Commencement Video (from YouTube)

SJU Commencement Photos (from Facebook)

Musician and composer John McCutcheon, a 1974 Saint John's University graduate, will deliver the SJU Commencement address at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 13, in the Saint John's Abbey and University Church.

McCutcheon will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Ty Cox, a graduating music major from Nassau, Bahamas, will be the student commencement speaker, as selected by the Saint John's senior class.

The 2012 Saint John's graduating class includes 430 undergraduate men and 26 School of Theology•Seminary graduates. When combined with the College of Saint Benedict's 460 graduates, this year's undergraduate graduating class is 890.

McCutcheon graduated summa cum laude in 1974 from SJU with a degree in American Folk Studies. He is a critically acclaimed musician and composer whose performance venues range from formal concert halls to informal folk festivals. His appeal spans the globe, and his performances attract people of all ages and demographics.

With more than 30 recordings and six Grammy nominations, the Wausau, Wis., native is a master of a dozen traditional instruments - including banjo and most notably the hammered dulcimer - and has been described by Johnny Cash as "the most impressive instrumentalist I've ever heard."

The folksinger, songwriter, balladeer, instrumentalist, historian and storyteller has toured Australia six times, is a favorite at the National Storytelling Festival, gave a featured concert at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, has performed in symphony pops concerts nationwide and served as president of the American Federation of Musicians, Local 1000.  McCutcheon also gives frequent performances at elementary schools, at festivals and at farm rallies.

He has written acclaimed children's books, published songbooks and recorded spoken-word albums.