Sister Helen Prejean Receives Honorary Doctorate from Drury

For Immediate Release: October 15

Mark Miller
Drury Director of Media Relations
Mobile: (417) 839-2886
Office: (417) 873-7390

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Oct. 15, 2009 — Drury University presented Sister Helen Prejean (Pray-zhon) with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters today. Drury honored the nun and author for her commitment to justice, her courage in telling her story as well as the stories of victims, victims’ families and death row inmates. Sister Prejean spoke at Drury today as part of the University’s convocation series.

Sister Prejean began her prison ministry in 1981 when she dedicated her life to the poor in New Orleans. She became pen pals with a convicted killer of two teenagers who was sentenced to death row and was facing the electric chair. Sister Prejean visited him often and became his spiritual adviser. Her eyes were then opened to the execution process of Louisiana.

Photo Gallery: Sister Helen Prejean

Sister Prejean turned her experiences into Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States, which was nominated for a 1993 Pulitzer Prize. It was then developed into a film in 1996. She has witnessed five executions in Louisiana during her ministry efforts and now educates the public about the death penalty. Her second book, The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions, shares evidence of information never heard by juries, incompetence of defense lawyers or the rigid formalities of court procedures.


Drury is an independent University, church related, grounded in the liberal arts tradition and committed to personalized education in a community of scholars who value the arts of teaching and learning. Education at Drury seeks to cultivate spiritual sensibilities and imaginative faculties as well as ethical insight and critical thought; to foster the integration of theoretical and practical knowledge; and to liberate persons to participate responsibly in and contribute to a global community. For more information, visit

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