Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia) received an honorary degree from Georgetown and served as the keynote speaker at the McCourt School’s 2015 commencement ceremony on May 14.

Congressman LewisLewis, who 50 years ago led 600 civil rights protestors across the Edmund Pettus Bridge during the historic “Bloody Sunday” march in Selma, Alabama, used his commencement address to encourage McCourt graduates to “use our resources to help out those who have been left behind.”

A member of Congress for more than 25 years, he is best known for his activism during the civil rights movement as chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and organizing countless sit-ins, voter registration drives and Freedom Rides throughout the segregated South, where he endured brutal beatings from white supremacists.

He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011 for his contributions.

McCourt School Dean Edward Montgomery said that when the school was looking for someone to talk to graduates about public service “no one stood out more clearly than Congressman John R. Lewis. In so many ways, the arc of his career and life embodies what life in the service of others can and should be.”