World-Renowned Poet to Speak at Diversity Conference

OGDEN, Utah – Nikki Giovanni, world-renowned poet, activist and educator, will be the keynote speaker at Weber State University’s 12th Annual Diversity Conference, on Oct. 7 and 8.

She will present her thoughts on women’s history, issues and the importance of diversity on Oct. 8 at 8:30 a.m. in the Shepherd Union Ballroom.

Giovanni has years of experience with issues in diversity. She was born in Knoxville, Tenn., and grew up in the segregated South. She became involved in the fight for equality early in life, citing the death of Emmitt Till as a major catalyst spurring her to action as a teenager.

Giovanni said she believes there are definite correlations between the black community’s and the female community’s battles for equality.

“The so-called glass ceilings need to be removed,” she said. “I think diversity is really, truly an issue for all of us. Men need to make adjustments too. They’ve been used to people stepping aside for them, and that’s just not going to happen anymore. That world is finished. And it’s good that world is finished.”

Giovanni has never been shy about sharing her views and opinions. Since 1987, she has been on the faculty at Virginia Tech, where she is a distinguished professor of English. Her poem “We are Virginia Tech,” which she composed following the fatal shootings on campus in 2007, gained world-wide appeal and served as a powerful anthem during a difficult time.

The Diversity Conference will kick off with an opening reception on Oct. 7 at 6 p.m. at WSU Davis Room 110. The event will be a tribute to the WSU Women’s Studies Program, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

The conference will continue the next day in the Shepherd Union Building with the keynote address and panel sessions discussing “Civil Rights & Women’s Rights,” “Leading Out Front: WSU’s Female Student Body Presidents Speak,” “Religion: What’s Sex Got to Do with It,” “Women on the Edge of Science,” and “Women’s Studies: Reflections and Directions.”

All events are free and open to the public. For more information on the conference, contact 801-626-6196.

12th Annual Diversity Conference

From Rocking the Cradle to Rocking the World: Transformation from the Margins

Conference Schedule:

• Oct. 7: Opening reception, 6-8 p.m., Weber State University Davis Room 110.

• Oct. 8: Keynote address by Nikki Giovanni, 8:30 a.m., Shepherd Union Ballroom.

• Oct. 8: Concurrent panel sessions; 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.; Shepherd Union Building.

• Oct. 8: Closing reception, 12:30 p.m., Shepherd Union Building.

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Forrest Crawford, Assistant to the President for Diversity
801-626-6338 •
Jonathan McBride, office of Media Relations
801-626-6347 •