Friday, May 13, 2016

Semester's End & Congrats to the Graduates

The Rutgers-Newark full commencement
ceremonies, at the Prudential Center
UPDATED: Rutgers-Newark held its Commencement ceremonies on Wednesday, May 18, 2016. The Commencement speaker was journalist and author Soledad O'Brien, and the honorary degree recipient was human rights activist and diplomat Radhika Coomaraswamy. I've included a few photos from the event. Congratulations to all the graduates and their families!

My absence from this blog is testimony to many things, one of which is the very busy semester I just concluded. Chairing, even a small department, is no joke, but many good things have happened, so I'm glad to have played a part in facilitating them. But back to more immediate things: Let me begin by congratulating all of Rutgers-Newark's 2016 graduates! Yesterday I had the tremendous honor of serving as the hooder for all 12 of our MFA fiction students who walked in the Graduate School's ceremonies. Our campus-wide ceremony will take place next Wednesday!

Our MFA graduates lining up before
our procession into the Essex Room
at Robeson Campus Center, Rutgers-Newark
Congratulations to all of these fine fiction writers, including the three phenomenal authors whose theses I advised, Mustafa Gatollari, Mel King and Anisa Rahim, and to all our graduating poets! I am glad I had an opportunity to teach many of them in workshops either last year or this one, and certainly will miss them!

Our MFA graduates and faculty (acting director
Rigoberto González is in the back row, at center,
and Brenda Shaughnessy is standing to his left/
viewer's right)
Congratulations also to my English department honors student Angelíc Forde, who completed a marvelous collection of poems entitled Limestone on My Feet, drawing upon her experiences as an immigrant from Barbados. It was always a pleasure to turn to Angelíc's poems, which included poems written in traditional fixed forms and ones drawn from the Bajan and African American traditions. (At Commencement exercises on Wednesday, I learned that Angelíc graduated summa cum laude, so even more kudos to her for a stellar undergraduate career!)

Soledad O'Brien giving her
Commencement address
Congratulations also to Tasha Hawthorne, now Dr. Hawthorne, on whose committee I sat, and who successfully completed and submitted her dissertation on African American pulp fiction at the very end of last year. Tasha will receive her Ph.D. in English from Northwestern University this June! Congratulations, Tasha!
Soledad O'Brien on
the big screen

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