NEA Big Read Keynote Speaker Valerie Smith, President of Swarthmore College

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NEA Big Read, Author Events

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Valerie Smith, a distinguished scholar of African American literature, is the 15th president of Swarthmore College, where her priorities have included attracting more low-income and first-generation students, supporting curricular innovation, increasing the diversity of the student body, and strengthening relationships between the College and the region. Her efforts during the largest campaign in the College’s history generated unprecedented support for students and for transformative facilities projects that provide new opportunities for collaboration and community building.

President Smith is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the boards of the American Council on Education, the Consortium on Financing Higher Education, Fulbright Canada, and the National Museum of the American Indian. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Bates College, she earned her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Virginia. Prior to her arrival at Swarthmore, she was a professor of English and African American Studies at UCLA, and the Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature, founding director of the Center for African-American Studies, and the dean of the college at Princeton University. She is the author of more than 40 articles and three books on African-American literature, culture, film, and photography. 

President Smith is a Toni Morrison scholar and author of Toni Morrison: Writing the Moral Imagination

Book giveaway to registered attendees.

Registration required for the in-person program at the Main Library, DiMattia Building.

Note: Proof of COVID vaccination or a negative COVID test within 72 hours is required to attend programs in the Main Library Auditorium. Face masks are also required in all indoor spaces in Stamford regardless of vaccination status.

Also available as a virtual program on Zoom. Join the Zoom webinar at the scheduled time.

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. Generously supported by the Friends of the Ferguson Library and co-sponsored by Stamford Stands Against Racism and UConn Stamford.

(photo credit Laurence Kesterson)