Poet laureate to give commencement, receive honorary degree

Lisa Glass

This year’s commencement speech will be poetic genius.

U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, poet laureate since 1997 and a former writer-in-residence at Northwestern’s Center for the Writing Arts, will address graduating students June 16 at Ryan Field and will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at NU’s commencement ceremony.

“He is widely recognized as an electrifying speaker who is very distinguished and active as poet laureate,” Associate Provost John Margolis said. “He is a force in reminding the nation that poetry is alive and relevant.”

“He is probably one of the most articulate people that we can have to speak on poetry and its place in life,” said Susan Hahn, editor of TriQuarterly literary magazine. “He can make you fall in love with the art form even if you don’t already love it. He will speak to everybody.”

University officials also announced the convocation speakers for each school, although Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences officials have yet to choose a convocation speaker. A student panel will meet next week to make the final decision, administrators said Wednesday.