Rita Dove, Commonwealth Professor of English in the University of Virginia’s College of Arts and Sciences, received honorary doctor of letters degrees from Emory University and Emerson College during their commencement exercises this month. These two degrees raise the number of honorary doctorates bestowed on her to 24.
The Pulitzer Prize-winner and former U.S. Poet Laureate also served as the keynote speaker to 3,700 graduates for Emory’s commencement exercises on May 13.
During her commencement address, Dove acknowledged her own history with Emory University and recalled the “interdisciplinary energy” she encountered during her visits to the campus. Dove has made several contributions to Emory University through her connections to the Center for Women and the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference.
These contributions to “our collective intellectual, creative and interdisciplinary life serve as an example of how to create new opportunities for community and collaboration,” James W. Wagner, president of Emory University, noted.
During her speech, Dove shared several personal anecdotes of interdisciplinary collaboration and conversation, which demonstrate her commitment to intellectual diversity and shared conversations between the humanities and sciences disciplines. She also praised Emory for its commitment to liberal arts education and urged graduates to treasure their education.
“In a democratic society, the arts are deeply intertwined with knowledge and progress,” Dove said.
— By Dana Cypress