Poet Joshua Bennett is Thayer’s Commencement Speaker

Poet Joshua Bennett is Thayer’s Commencement Speaker
Dr. Joshua Bennett

Dr. Joshua Bennett                     

Dr. Joshua Bennett, an award-winning poet and Dartmouth professor, will be the guest speaker for Thayer Academy’s Commencement exercises to be held Saturday, June 10, at 9:30 a.m. on the front lawn of Main Campus. 

Bennett, who will join the faculty at MIT this summer as a professor of literature and distinguished chair of the humanities, is the author of five books of poetry, criticism, and narrative nonfiction: The Sobbing School, winner of the National Poetry Series and a finalist for an NAACP Image Award; Being Property Once Myself, winner of the Modern Language Association’s William Sanders Scarborough Prize; Owed; The Study of Human Life; and Spoken Word: A Cultural History, which was published this year by Knopf. He formerly taught as a professor of English and creative writing at Dartmouth College; Bennett currently serves as a scholar-in-residence at Thayer. 

Bennett, who originally hails from Yonkers, New York, earned his doctorate in English from Princeton University and a master’s degree in Theatre and Performance Studies from the United Kingdom’s University of Warwick, where he was a Marshall Scholar. He has recited his original works at the Sundance Film Festival, the NAACP Image Awards, and President Obama’s Evening of Poetry and Music at the White House.

For his creative writing and scholarship, Bennett has received fellowships and awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Whiting Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Society of Fellows at Harvard University. His work has been published in The Atlantic, The Best American Poetry, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. Along with Jesse McCarthy, an assistant professor at Harvard University, Bennett is the founding editor of Minor Notes, a Penguin Classics book series dedicated to minor poets within the black expressive tradition.

Head of School Chris Fortunato P ‘26, ‘28 thanked Bennett for both his incredible work this year as a resident scholar and his generosity in addressing the Class of 2023. 

“Joshua Bennett's residency at Thayer has helped our school to more fully realize our ambitions to bring the world to Thayer Academy through his scholarship, artistry, and humanity,” said Fortunato. “We are grateful that Thayer Academy has joined exceptional institutions like Dartmouth College and MIT in welcoming Joshua to teach, inspire, and elevate student engagement and learning excellence.”

This will be the school’s 145th Commencement; in all, the Thayer Academy Class of 2023 includes 124 graduating seniors. 

Members of the Thayer community will be able to watch the June 10 Commencement ceremony live online via a computer or mobile device. More details will be forthcoming in an email that will be sent to community members. 

In the event of rain, ceremonies will be held in Alumni Gym.


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