Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal will deliver the keynote address at the 2014 Commencement ceremony for Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., the school's news service announced Wednesday.
The Republican governor will make his address on May 10 at 10 a.m. on the campus's Williams Stadium. Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, said in a statement posted by the Liberty University News Service that Jindal is a "rising star on the national political scene."
"Governor Bobby Jindal has lived the American dream, rising from humble beginnings to become one of the rising stars on the national political scene – and his rise has not yet waned. Many believe he could hold the highest office in the land someday. I believe he will be an inspiration to our graduates, not only because of his life's story, but because he shares many of the conservative and Christian values that Liberty University graduates hold dear."
As The Times-Picayune points out, several conservative politicians have visited Liberty University in the past, and the governor's upcoming speech may be foretelling of a possible 2016 president run. Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan visited the university before his presidential run in 1980, and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke at the school as well ahead of the 2012 election.
Other notable Republican politicians who have spoken at the university include former President George H.W. Bush, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Senator John McCain, Senator Rand Paul and Senator Ted Cruz, among others.
Like many other commencement speakers at Liberty University, Jindal is not actually an evangelical. Rather, the governor identifies with the Catholic faith. The largest private, nonprofit college in the nation has previously had non-evangelical speakers at its commencement ceremony, including Romney, actor and commentator Ben Stein, who is Jewish, and television personality Glenn Beck, a Mormon.
The southern governor has a consistent political record of defending religious freedom. Jindal has previously said he thinks creationism, evolution, and intelligent design should all be taught in the state's public schools. He also defended reality television star Phil Robertson of "Duck Dynasty" when he was criticized for comments he made regarding his Christian faith.
The governor has also spoken out against what he believes to be a "silent war" on religious liberty, saying in a speech at Ronald Reagan's presidential library in California in February that "the American people, whether they know it or not, are mired in a silent war."
"It threatens the fabric of our communities, the health of our public square and the endurance of our constitutional governance," Jindal added.