Noted Author Candice Millard to Deliver Convocation Address at Benedictine College

Noted Author Candice Millard to Deliver Convocation Address

Speech will be featured at Benedictine College on Sept. 3

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Candice Millard (Courtesy of Doubleday, Photo by Paul Versluis)

Benedictine College will celebrate the start of another academic year on Tuesday, September 3, 2019, with a formal All School Mass at 9:30 a.m. in St. Benedict’s Abbey Church, followed by the traditional Opening Academic Convocation in the Ralph Nolan Gymnasium at 11:00 a.m. This year, Candice Millard, New York Times bestselling author of historical nonfiction, will deliver the keynote address.

Millard is a graduate of Baker University and earned a Master's Degree in Literature from Baylor University. She is a former writer and editor for National Geographic and the author of three books, each of which has been a New York Times bestseller and named a best book of the year by several publications. She lives in the Kansas City area with her husband and three children.

During her convocation address, Millard plans to talk about her latest book, Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape and the Making of Winston Churchill. The book was an Indie Next pick, a top ten critics pick by the New York Times and named Amazon’s number one history book of 2016.

“I think Churchill’s story is a particularly powerful one for young people because it’s all about determination, not only not giving up when things get difficult, but working harder, with more energy and ingenuity,” she said. “What I love about Churchill in the Boer War is that he’s only 25, not much older than most college students, but all the character traits that he will need and will become so famous for 40 years later are already there, in a very pronounced and unforgettable way.”

Benedictine College is recommending that students read Hero of the Empire as part of their summer reading so they are prepared for the author’s speech. The book is available in local bookstores and on

Millard’s first book, The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey, is a history of the Roosevelt–Rondon Scientific Expedition of the Amazon rainforest in 1913-14. It was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and a Book Sense Pick, won the William Rockhill Nelson Award and was a finalist for the Quill Awards. It has been printed in Portuguese, Mandarin, Japanese and Korean. Her second book, Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine & the Murder of a President, tells the story of the assassination of James A. Garfield. It won the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime, the PEN Center USA Award for Research Nonfiction, the One Book-One Lincoln Award, the Ohioana Award and the Kansas Notable Book Award. Millard's work has also appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Washington Post Book World, The Guardian, National Geographic and Time Magazine.

Following the keynote address, the freshman class will be welcomed into the community of Ravens and will remove their beanies. The practice of freshmen wearing beanies dates back generations and Benedictine College may be the only college in America that still observes the tradition.

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas.  The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide.  It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging.  It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.