Rita Dove--Emory 2013 Commencement Speaker

Drum role please…the 2013 commencement speaker has finally been selected! And it’s Rita Dove!

…Wait, who?

We’re willing to bet that most of you have never heard of poet and author, Rita Dove…but, since she will be delivering a speech (or reciting poetry?!) at graduation this year, it is time to get ourselves familiarized!

Quick Facts

Education: BA from Miami University in Ohio (summa cum laude- duh!) and received an MFA at the University of Iowa…oh and she won a Fulbright Scholarship in Germany (nbd).

What she does now: She is currently a professor at UVA in Charlottesville.

Biggest accomplishments: Second African American to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and United States Poet Laureate from 1993-1995 (this means the government selected her to be the official poet and to write poetry for special occasions).

Most famous work: Thomas and Beulah (it’s a book of poems…just $11.85 on Amazon if you’re looking for something to read while laying out over spring break…)

Why she agreed to speak at our commencement: She is already involved with Emory’s Center for Women and the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference. Also, MARBL (AKA 10th floor of the library) has one of the largest collections of African-American literary materials. (Side note: did some stalking online and it seems this is her first time being selected to give a commencement address at a university—so safe to say she is trying to cross one off the bucket list!)

Why some people are really excited about this: Emory has had a lot of speakers in the science/political fields recently, and hasn’t had a “humanities” speaker in 10 years.

Why the committee is a little disappointed: They didn’t get their first pick, President Obama (OMG, right!)

May thirteenth

That is the day

We hope that Dove

Will blow us away

(© original Her Campus poetry)

For more information on the speaker selection process, refer to this article from The Emory Wheel.