Spriggs named commencement speaker

For graduation, Transylvania alumna and Affrilachian poet Bianca Spriggs has been chosen to be this year’s commencement speaker.

“We were looking for someone who had great accomplishment,” said Professor of Psychology Dr. Meg Upchurch, who is on the graduation planning committee.

A Cave Canem Fellow, Spriggs has been named one of the Top 30 Performance Poets by The Root, nominated for a Pushcart Prize and is also “a recipient of multiple Artist Enrichment Grants and an Arts Meets Activism Grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women,” according to her website, http://biancaspriggs.com.

“We wanted a lively speaker,” said Upchurch. “I’ve seen her poems and speak about them, and I think she’s really dynamic and that students would enjoy hearing her.”

Those at Transy who know of her probably experienced her oratory at the Carnegie Center last term.

In addition to her former achievements, Spriggs was chosen for her ongoing connection with Transy.

“This past year, she has brought artists here (and) she has participated in the ‘Spinning Into Butter’ conversation. … She’s just given so much,” said Upchurch.

Transy also holds future plans for Spriggs. In the spring of 2013 she will have a Morlan Gallery art exhibit “derived from her performance songs and readings, based on her research of the 13 black women who were lynched in Kentucky in the 1950s,” said Upchurch.

Faculty played a major role in choosing Spriggs, as an email was circulated asking for nominees.

“We had a ton of suggestions actually,” said Upchurch, who talked the selection process over with President R. Owen Williams. “Because Bianca is awesome and has done so much for the college, and is also an alumni who has gone out and made a success, … it just seemed like she would be a really good choice.”

A Lexington local, Spriggs continues to live and work in the city and is a doctoral student at the University of Kentucky.

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