Poet Richard Blanco Will Be Carlow University’s Commencement Speaker on May 4

April 9, 2024
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The Presidential Inaugural Poet Will Also Receive an Honorary Doctorate During the Ceremony

Pittsburgh, Pa. – Award-winning poet Richard Blanco, the fifth Presidential Inaugural Poet in U.S. History, will be the keynote speaker at Carlow University’s Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 4, 2024, at 11a.m. in Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, Oakland.

Selected to be the Inaugural Poet by President Barack Obama for his second inauguration in January 2013. In 2023, Blanco was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Biden from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Born in Madrid to Cuban exile parents and raised in Miami in a working-class family, Blanco’s personal negotiation of cultural identity and the universal themes of place and belonging characterize Blanco’s many collections of poetry including his most recent, Homeland of My Body, which reassess traditional notions of home as strictly a geographical, tangible place that merely exist outside us, but rather, within us. He has also authored the memoirs For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey and The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood. Blanco has received numerous awards, including the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize, the PEN American Beyond Margins Award, the Patterson Prize, and a Lambda Prize for memoir. He was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and has received numerous honorary degrees. Currently, he serves as Education Ambassador for The Academy of American Poets and is an Associate Professor at Florida International University. In April 2022, Blanco was appointed the first-ever Poet Laureate of Miami-Dade County.

“Richard Blanco has been a friend to Carlow University and our MFA program for many years,” said Kathy W. Humphrey, PhD, president, Carlow University. “Through his work, particularly his Inaugural Poem, One Today, readers get a sense of shared humanity and especially hope for the future. His words always resonate with resilience and possibility for a better tomorrow. Core to the Carlow mission of creating a more just and merciful world for all. We look forward to hearing the message he will deliver at Commencement.”

Blanco, a longtime mentor for students in Carlow’s Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in creative writing program and an associate professor at Florida International University, will also be awarded an honorary doctorate during the ceremony.

Carlow University will award more than 400 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees at Commencement.


About Carlow University
Carlow is a private, co-educational, Catholic university that is located at the hub of Pittsburgh’s most cutting-edge industries. Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1929, Carlow’s curricula and partnerships reflect its strong commitment to social justice; ethical, forward-thinking and responsible leadership; and impactful service to the community. At Carlow University we strive to create an experience that is not only life-changing, but world-changing. We are creating generations of ethical leaders, who not only have the skills to be pioneers in workforce development, healthcare, education, business, the arts, and service, but the empathy and spirit to create meaningful societal changes. Carlow University is a brand of education that doesn’t exist anywhere else in higher education, but its impacts can change the course of our future. Rooted in unity and healing and led by compassion, we are redefining what a leader looks like —and it looks like a Carlow graduate.

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