Camille Dungy gives the commencement address at Western Colorado University on May 4, 2024.

Commencement Season Spotlight

The English department is delighted to share that earlier this month University Distinguished Professor Camille Dungy was chosen as the commencement speaker for Western Colorado University, and (in the same week!) was awarded an Honorary Degree from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry!

At CSU, Professor Dungy teaches courses on poetry, environmental writing, and African American literature, as well as MFA workshops in poetry and creative nonfiction. Dungy’s award-winning poetry and prose explore the intersections between literature, environmental action, history, and culture. Her latest book, Soil: The Story of a Black Mother’s Garden, was published by Simon and Schuster in 2023, and was recently named a finalist for the Colorado Book Award in Creative Nonfiction.

WCU Commencement Speaker

On May 4, Dungy delivered her commencement address at the Mountaineer Bowl at the Rady Family Sports Complex. She said it was an honor to spend time with Western’s vibrant campus community.

“I’m especially honored because this was the first year a committee that represented the university community was charged with selecting the commencement speaker. It fills me with joy and gratitude to know people all over Colorado are connecting with my little book about working to build a more diverse, sustainable, and community-oriented environment one garden and neighbor at a time,” she said.

Honorary Degree from SUNY ESF

The following Saturday, Dungy was presented an honorary degree during the SUNY ESF commencement ceremony at Empower FCU Amphitheater at Lakeview in Syracuse, N.Y.

“ESF is proud to acknowledge the remarkable contributions of Camille Dungy to the realm of environmental writing,” said ESF President Joanie Mahoney. “In a world where environmental issues touch every corner of our planet, Camille’s writings serve as a powerful amplifier for a multitude of voices, ensuring a broader spectrum of perspectives is heard as we strive for solutions.”

The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) is dedicated to the study of the environment, developing renewable technologies, and building a sustainable and resilient future through design, policy, and management of the environment and natural resources. Members of the College community share a passion for protecting the health of the planet and a deep commitment to the rigorous application of science to improve the way humans interact with the world.

Congratulations, Professor Dungy!