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Bruce Bastian to be Westminster commencement speaker

Gay rights advocate, philanthropist and entrepreneur Bruce Bastian will give the commencement address at Westminster College’s 2011 graduation ceremony.

Bastian is an advocate for gay rights and serves on the Board of Directors for the Human Rights Commission. He also founded the B. W. Bastian Foundation, which supports organizations that embrace equality. The foundation supports arts organizations and other groups such as Ballet West, Utah Symphony and Utah Opera.

Bastian co-founded the WordPerfect Corporation in 1978 and served as the chairman until it was purchased by the Novell Corporation in 1994. During his time as chairman, WordPerfect became the best-selling program of its kind.

“The fact that [Bastian] has been such a courageous supporter of human rights and equality for all really showcases the principles we try to demonstrate here at Westminster,” said Krista DeAngelis the school’s associate director of communications.

And while Bastian’s support for gay rights was not the only reason why he was chosen, his tradition of helping people embrace diversity was an extremely attractive characteristic, DeAngelis said. “Bastian’s support for the arts, his success as an entrepreneur and all his other philanthropic efforts are other reasons why he was chosen to give the commencement address.”

We are very pleased that Bruce Bastian will present this year’s commencement address to the class of 2011,” Westminster President Michael Bassis said in a written statement. “His success as an entrepreneur and business leader, generous philanthropy to the arts and courageous support for human rights is commendable. Our graduates will be entering a world of increasing diversity and rapid social change.”

Bastian graduated from BYU with a bachelor’s degree in music education. He went on to earn his master’s degree in computer science. He will also receive an honorary degree at the ceremony, which will be held on May 28 at 1:45 p.m. at the Maverick Center in West Valley City.

Seth Bracken

Seth Bracken is the editor of QSaltLake

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