WSSU

World-Renowned Poet Nikki Giovanni Highlights 2013 WSSU Commencement

Date:  May 18, 2013

Time:  9:45 am

Summary:  Nikki Giovanni, award-winning poet, essayist, novelist and educator, will serve as the speaker for the WSSU 2013 commencement on Saturday, May 18, at 9:45 a.m. in the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Description:

Nikki GiovanniNikki Giovanni, award-winning poet, essayist, novelist and educator, will serve as the speaker for Winston-Salem State's (WSSU) 2013 commencement on Saturday, May 18, at 9:45 a.m. in the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

On the recommendation of Chancellor Donald J. Reaves, the Board of Trustees of WSSU voted to confer the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters to Giovanni in recognition of her literary work, as well as her roles as an educator and an activist.  The award will be presented during the graduation ceremony.

"One of the most widely-read American poets, Nikki Giovanni's outspokenness in her writing and lectures has highlighted her commitment to civil rights and equality," said Reaves.  "Since publishing her first book of poetry in 1968, she has become a strong voice for justice and she is truly a dynamic speaker."

Giovanni, the author of some 30 books for both adults and children, launched her career with her first book of poetry, "Black Feeling Black Talk," in 1968 which she followed with a second book in 1969.  Since then, she has won numerous awards for her writing and her spoken world recordings also have achieved widespread recognition and honors.  Additionally, she received the Langston Hughes Medal for poetry and was the first recipient of the Rosa L. Parks Woman of Courage Award.  She has been named woman of the year by Mademoiselle magazine, The Ladies Home Journal and Ebony magazine.

Giovanni graduated with honors from Fisk University in 1968 and attended the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University.  She is a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech, where she has been on the faculty since 1987.

Categories:  Alumni, Academic Calendar, Commencement

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