Pelikan is a well-known theological scholar and has written over 30 books about the history of Christianity.
He taught at Yale for over 34 years before retiring in 1996. Before Yale, he was also a professor at Valparaiso University, Concordia Theological Seminary, and the University of Chicago.
Pelikan has numerous connections with St. Olaf. In addition to an honorary degree the college awarded him in 1972, his son, Marty Pelikan, a 1980 graduate of St. Olaf, is currently the director of national programming and new ventures at the college radio station, WCAL.
Another of one of his sons, Michael, is a 1979 graduate of St. Olaf, and his grandson, Matt, is a current senior.
According to Amy Gage, the Media Relations Specialist, his commencement speech is tentatively titled "Unto the Third and Fourth Generations."
Presently Pelikan is in the final stages of completing a five-volume work entitled Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition, of which he is a co-editor. He may be most well known works such as The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine and Jesus Through the Centuries: His Place in the History of Culture.
An ordained Lutheran minister, Pelikan earned a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago when he was 22 years old.
Since then, he has been awarded honorary degrees from 40 seminaries, colleges, and universities around the world.
Pelikan also holds numerous distinguished positions; he is the John W. Kluge Scholar at the Library of Congress and was the most recent president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Pelikan currently resides with his wife in Connecticut.
Commencement will take place on Sunday, May 25 at 2:30 on Manitou Field.