Renowned adventurer and activist Erik Weihenmayer will be the principal speaker at the 180th Commencement May 23 and will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.
In 2001, Weihenmayer became the only blind person to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. When he climbed Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia in 2008, he completed his ascent of the Seven Summits, a quest that began with Mt. McKinley in 1995.
His other accomplishments include the Primal Quest endurance race, Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race in Colorado, and scaling the 3,200-foot rock face of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.
Robbed of his vision by retinoschisis by age 13, Weihenmayer became a wrestler in high school, representing his home state of Connecticut in the National Junior Freestyle Wrestling Championships, and graduated from Boston College with a double major in English and communications.
In 2005, he co-founded No Barriers USA to work with injured soldiers, disadvantaged youth, physically and emotionally challenged people, and others. He is the author of Touch the Top of the World.