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For Immediate Release

Media contacts:
Jane Turnis
(719) 389-6138

Leslie Weddell
(719) 389-6038



Essayist, historian and co-founder of the Center of the American West
Patty Limerick also to receive honorary degree

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – May 8, 2008 – Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins will address the Colorado College graduating class of 2008 at its commencement at 8:30 a.m. Monday, May 19 on Armstrong Quad, 14 E. Cache La Poudre St. The quad is located directly north of the intersection of Tejon and Cache La Poudre streets. Cascade Avenue will be closed from Uintah to Cache La Poudre streets from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the commencement ceremony.

Approximately 615 undergraduates and 45 master of arts in teaching students will receive their degrees at Colorado College’s 127th commencement ceremony.

Collins and Patty Limerick, faculty director and chair of the board of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado, will each receive a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from Colorado College.

Collins became a household name when, in 2001, he was named Poet Laureate of the United States, a position he held for two years. He subsequently served as New York State Poet Laureate from 2004 to 2006. His readings are now “events” packed with listeners from all walks of life, brought back to poetry by the promise of language that will be accessible without for a moment “dumbing down” the art. In fact, Collins’s poetry is deceptively simple, as The New York Times noted: “Luring his readers into the poem with humor, Mr. Collins leads them unwittingly into deeper, more serious places, a kind of journey from the familiar to quirky to unexpected territory, sometimes tender, often profound.”

Collins has published numerous books, including “Questions about Angels,” “Picnic, Lightning,” “Sailing Alone Around the Room,” “Nine Horses” and “The Trouble with Poetry.” He also has edited two hugely successful anthologies: “Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry” and “180 More: Extraordinary Poems for the Everyday.” In 2006 he was guest editor of “Best American Poetry” and published a collection of his haiku, titled “She Was Just Seventeen.” (Note the pun.) His poems have appeared in virtually every major magazine, including The New Yorker, The Paris Review and Poetry. He has won fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, and was named a “literary lion” by the New York Public Library. In 2004 Collins received the inaugural Mark Twain Award for Humorous Poetry from the Poetry Foundation of America.

Limerick, a history professor at the University of Colorado, has dedicated her career to bridging the gap between academics and the general public and to demonstrating the benefits of applying historical perspective to contemporary dilemmas and conflicts.

She published “Desert Passages” in 1985, followed two years later by her best-known work, “The
Legacy of Conquest,” an overview and reinterpretation of Western American history that prompted both academic and public debate. Limerick also is a prolific essayist, and many of her most notable articles are collected in “Something in the Soil.” Limerick has received a number of awards and honors recognizing the impact of her scholarship and her commitment to teaching, including the MacArthur Fellowship and the Hazel Barnes Prize, the University of Colorado’s highest award for teaching and research.

In 1986, Limerick and CU Law Professor Charles Wilkinson founded the Center of the American West, and since 1995 it has been Limerick’s primary point of affiliation. During her tenure, the center has published a number of books including the influential “Atlas of the New West” and a series of lively, balanced and to-the-point reports on compelling Western issues, including “What Every Westerner Should Know About Energy,” “Cleaning Up Abandoned Mines,” and “What Every Westerner Should Know About Energy Efficiency and Conservation.”

In addition to choosing their commencement speaker, members of the senior class also elect their baccalaureate speaker. This year, David Weddle, Colorado College professor of religion, will give the baccalaureate address at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 18 at Shove Memorial Chapel, 1010 N. Nevada Ave.; tickets are reserved for graduates and their families.

In the event of inclement weather on Monday, the commencement exercises will take place in the Colorado Springs World Arena, 3185 Venetucci Blvd., Colorado Springs. If weather is a concern, listen to Colorado College’s radio station, KRCC-FM 91.5, for announcements. As space is not an issue at the World Arena, admission will not be limited there.

For information, directions or disability accommodation at the event, members of the public may call (719) 389-6607.

About Colorado College
Colorado College is a nationally prominent, four-year liberal arts and sciences college that was founded in Colorado Springs in 1874. The college operates on the innovative Block Plan, in which its 1,945 students study one course at a time in intensive 3½-week blocks. For more information, visit www.ColoradoCollege.edu <http://www.ColoradoCollege.edu>.