Santa Clara University

SCU Today

University Press Releases

Back to Blog

Khaled Hosseini, World Renowned Author and Santa Clara University Alumnus to Speak at 2011 Undergraduate Commencement

Wednesday, Mar. 23, 2011

SANTA CLARA, Calif. March 23, 2011—Dr. Khaled Hosseini, bestselling author, physician, and Santa Clara University alumnus, will be the commencement speaker for SCU’s undergraduate class of 2011.

“I look forward to speaking to the graduates as they stand on the verge of bringing their ambitions and ideas to a greater world outside of Santa Clara University. It will be my privilege to provoke them to thought one more time before they leave the home of their formal education,” says Hosseini.

Santa Clara University announced today that Hosseini will deliver the commencement address on Saturday, June 11 at 8:30 a.m. at Buck Shaw Stadium. He also will receive an honorary degree of Doctorate of Humane Letters for carrying forth the Jesuit mission of social justice.

“We’re eager to hear from Dr. Khaled Hosseini, who is a humanitarian and spokesperson for millions of refugees around the world,” said Santa Clara University President Michael Engh, S.J. “His deep and personal understanding of the challenges of the people of Afghanistan, Darfur, and Chad and his work with the United Nations will inspire the class of 2011.”

Hosseini graduated from Santa Clara University with a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1988. He earned his medical degree from University of California, San Diego’s School of Medicine in 1993.

He published his first novel in 2003, The Kite Runner, an international best-seller about friendship, betrayal, and the price of loyalty, as well as the bonds between fathers and sons. The story takes place in Afghanistan’s historical context and parallels Hosseini’s life as a child. It was the first reading assignment the class of 2011 received during their freshman orientation in the summer of 2006.

He wrote his second bestseller, A Thousand Splendid Suns, after returning to Afghanistan for the first time in 27 years. The book is about the tumultuous lives of two Afghani women and is set against the volatile events in Afghanistan over the last 30 years.

His visits to Afghanistan and his personal experience as a refugee turned Hosseini into an advocate for refugees around the world. In 2006, he was named a goodwill envoy to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), also known as the The United Nations Refugee Agency. He works with the organization to raise awareness of issues plaguing refugees, including violence and lack of basic needs. He has traveled to Chad and Afghanistan to serve as a public advocate for refugees around the world.

Hosseini also has been working to provide humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan through The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, which he founded in 2007. The foundation supports projects, which provide shelter to refugee families, economic and education opportunities, and health care for women and children.

“I am very fortunate that my literary career has given me the chance to be part of the effort to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees, particularly those from my homeland of Afghanistan. Working through my foundation and UNHCR to assist refugees has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” says Hosseini.

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its more than 8,800 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, theology, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see

Members of the media can contact:
Connie Kim Coutain | | 408-554-5126 O | 408-829-4836 C

Printer-friendly format