Monty Python's Eric Idle to deliver 2013 Whitman College Commencement address

April 21, 2013

Eric IdleWALLA WALLA, Wash.– English comedian, actor, author, singer, writer and comedic composer Eric Idle will deliver the 2013 Whitman College Commencement address and receive an honorary degree, Whitman president George Bridges announced.

The title of his speech is "There's No Time Like the Pleasant."

Idle, whose daughter Lily will be among the 375 graduates, was a member of the British surreal comedy group Monty Python and a member of the Rutles on Saturday Night Live. He is the playwright of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Spamalot, which has been performed on three continents. Idle also is an active tweeter, and his Twitter profile identifies him as a "writer, reader, husband, father, dog owner, sillographer, guitarist and football fan."

A 1965 graduate of Pembroke College Cambridge, Idle holds a Bachelor of Arts in English. From Whitman, he will receive a doctor of humane letters degree. It will be his first honorary doctorate, and Whitman's also will be the first Commencement speech he delivers.

Idle is clear on the value of a liberal arts education. "It is vital, he said. "We do need technology, but we also need people to become thinkers and writers. This is equally important. Whitman seems to provide an excellent education to young people."

Idle is no stranger to understanding the opportunities afforded through higher education. He has shown his support to his alma mater, where he is the namesake of a scholarship program linked with Occidental College that sends students to New York to study international relations and gain work experience at the United Nations.

Whitman's Commencement takes place Sunday, May 19 at 11 a.m. on the south lawn of the Memorial Building.