Indiana University

Skip to:

  1. Search
  2. Breadcrumb Navigation
  3. Content
  4. Browse by Topic
  5. Services & Resources
  6. Additional Resources
  7. Multimedia News

Media Contacts

Carolyn Calloway-Thomas
IU Bloomington Diversity Committee

Steve Hinnefeld
University Communications

Last modified: Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Former Poet Laureate Rita Dove headlines first IU Bloomington Diversity Day

March 11, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A reading and talk by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Rita Dove will highlight Indiana University Bloomington's inaugural Diversity Day, a campus-wide celebration and conversation centered on the theme "Diversity is Bigger than You Think."

Dove, the U.S. poet laureate from 1993 to 1995, will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 25, at Whittenberger Auditorium in the Indiana Memorial Union, 700 E. Seventh St.

"A genuine commitment to diversity and equity is fundamental to the nature of Indiana University and its educational mission," said IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Karen Hanson. "On this inaugural Diversity Day celebration, students, faculty, and staff will engage in important discussions about race, gender, sexuality, politics, religion, and economic and cultural differences. The Diversity Committee is to be commended for its leadership in organizing these events, and we hope these conversations will underscore and amplify the crucial significance of diversity to our university."

The two-day celebration will bring the campus together to exchange ideas and demonstrate IU Bloomington's commitment to diversity as an essential part of its mission of teaching, learning, scholarship and research. The events are also designed to promote a sense of community through lively conversation and cultural activities.

They will begin with a kickoff event on Tuesday, March 24, featuring remarks by Edwin Marshall, vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs; a talk by Hanson; and performances by Colombian guitarist Efrain Andre Escobar, Indonesian dancer Erin Wilson and others. The event begins at 7 p.m. in room 109 of the Business Building, 1309 E. 10th St.

At 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 25, simultaneous events will take place across campus to emphasize the significance of diversity to IU Bloomington. Campus units will sponsor lectures, classroom discussions and conversations on disability, race, gender, ethnicity, social class and other aspects of diversity.

The celebration will end with a keynote address by Rita Dove, in which she will read from her new book of poetry, Sonata Mulattica, and offer remarks focused on diversity. Lyric soprano Virginia LeBlanc (director of IU's Hudson & Holland Scholars Program) and tenor Jasuhiko Harada of the Jacobs School of Music will entertain guests with traditional African American and Japanese songs.

Dove, the Commonwealth Professor of Poetry at the University of Virginia, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1987 for her poetry collection Thomas and Beulah, becoming the second African American poet to win the prize. She is the author of the poetry collections The Yellow House on the Corner, Museum, Grace Notes, On the Bus with Rosa Parks, Mother Love and American Smooth, the book of short stories Fifth Sunday, and The Darker Face of the Earth, a play. Sonata Mulattica is a verse and verse-drama retelling of the life of George Polgreen Bridgetower, a 19th-century violinist of Euro-African descent whose rise to fame included befriending and eventually offending Ludwig van Beethoven.

For information at IU Bloomington Diversity Day, contact Carolyn Calloway-Thomas, chair of the Diversity Committee, at