Interview with Mia Vance: Valedictorian, Poet Laureate 2022
How does it feel coming to the end of your time in the English department?
I’m overwhelmed on many levels! Of course, there’s a great deal of excitement to move forward into the postgraduate program of a lifetime abroad in Ireland ahead of me, and there’s still the last few assignments and exams left to clear before I finally reach the finish line. But as a nontraditional transfer student, having left my former institution with a low GPA and even lower hopes of finishing my degree, to approach that goal now as a wife, a mother, and Valedictorian––in the midst of the many challenges we’ve all faced these past two years––I feel not only deeply proud, but profoundly honored. It is the best redemption arc I could have imagined for myself as a scholar!
Stories about UO English graduates and faculty
“When you experience a trauma, it’s hard to talk about it at first because you haven’t figured out how it fits within a narrative of yourself.” This is Megan Reynolds, a graduating English Ph.D. who studies trauma within Jewish and African diasporas. Reynolds, like many of us, has had to work through important personal questions to finish her PhD during a pandemic. One question many people can relate to: when is the appropriate time to work through major traumas while also getting work done?
English undergraduate and graduate students’ creative responses to facing challenges might just be ingrained in the field of English itself. The English Department’s Director of Graduate Studies Mary Wood shares that during the pandemic English graduate students perceptively read news stories and social media posts critically, with an attention to language, and helped their undergraduate students do the same. While they experienced uncertainty themselves during the pandemic, English students focused on concrete ways to come together and make human connections. Through lively creativity and connection, English graduate students display dynamic interests and skills that take them beyond literary analysis into responding to real social issues, confirming that during world crises students in English are indispensable.
After a long year of shutdowns and restrictions on travel, many undergraduate students are looking forward to expanding their educational horizons. Especially in the English major, students often see their studies as connected to issues that span multiple cultural and geographical contexts. This year’s English major valedictorian Mia Vance explores her interest and personal cultural connection to Ireland to deepen her studies of English literature and creative writing.
It can be difficult to parse out how certain social issues have become what they are today. Especially when those issues are polarizing, understanding how to ask questions and where to find answers is indispensable in participating in discussions. Director of the Oregon Humanities Center and English Professor Paul Peppis shows us where to find the most cutting-edge responses to these urgent questions: “If you want to have hope in the world, be in a room with students a couple of times a week.” English students are drivers and shapers of political and social discussions, discussions they often enter into and master during the course of their degrees.
English Department, Folklore, and Public Culture Commencement
Monday, June 13 at 4:00 PM
Join us for the 2022 English Department and Folklore and Public Culture Commencement Ceremony on the East Campus Green (Law School Lawn). The ceremony is for both graduate and undergraduate English and Folklore majors.
Knight Law Center East Lawn
1515 Agate Street, Eugene, OR
(We have a student volunteer, not a professional streaming service, who has agreed to stream the ceremony and capture what they can on their laptop)
Congratulations, Graduating Ducks!
The University of Oregon is delighted to announce the 146th commencement ceremony will be held on June 13, 2022, at 9:00 a.m. PT. The historic event will take place at Autzen Stadium, to allow the university to accommodate the graduates of 2022, 2021, and 2020 for an in-person event. All qualifying graduates from those classes are invited and welcome to bring as many friends and family members as they would like—no tickets will be required. We ask that all graduates RSVP and include the number of guests that you anticipate will attend.
This day will mark an important milestone in your academic career. Your degree represents an incredible journey of academic dedication and scholastic accomplishment.
We are proud to welcome you with a day of celebration and activities to recognize all you have accomplished.
9:00 a.m. PT at Autzen Stadium
Keynote Speaker: Ashton Eaton
Grad-to-Grad Gown Share
Grad-to-Grad Gown Share is a program that helps offset the costs of graduation by collecting graduation gowns from recent graduates and redistributing them to the next year’s graduates for free. While students still have to buy the other regalia necessary for graduation, this is a great way to help students with graduation costs and keep gowns from sitting in students’ closets for years. These gowns will need to be returned after graduation for the next year’s graduating class.