Varun Soni to speak at Service of Celebration

Varun Soni, dean of religious life at the University of Southern California, will serve as the speaker at this year’s Service of Celebration, held as part of William & Mary's Commencement weekend.

Varun SoniThe Service of Celebration, a multi-faith worship service for all graduates and their invited guests, will be held on May 11, at 9:30 a.m. in William & Mary Hall. The event, put on by the W&M Center for Student Diversity under Vernon Hurte, celebrates the religious diversity on campus and allows students of all faiths to come together for a service before their graduation.

Soni -- who is also an adjunct professor at the USC School of Religion, a university fellow at the USC Annenberg Center on Public Diplomacy, and a former teacher in the Law and Society Program at UC Santa Barbara -- is the first Hindu to hold the position of dean of religious life at a university in America.

In addition to his work in academics, Soni has written a book called Natural Mystics: The Prophetic Lives of Bob Marley and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and has been involved in the production of the graphic novel Tina’s Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary by Keshni Kashyap. As an interfaith leader and scholar, he gives talks at many public speaking events, hosts his own radio show on KPFK-Pacifica, and has been interviewed by such media organizations as the LA Times, NPR, ABC News, Voice of America and LA Weekly.

Following his speech at the Service of Celebration, a number of officials from major campus religious organizations will be present to offer blessings to the group. Included in these will be representatives from Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

For more information on Commencement events, visit: http://www.wm.edu/sites/commencement/highlights/index.php