Maya Angelou Receives Honorary Doctorate from Shenandoah University

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Maya Angelou Receives Honorary Doctorate from Shenandoah University

WINCHESTER, Va., Sept 25, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Shenandoah University awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters to world-famous literary legend Dr. Maya Angelou today, during "A Morning with Maya Angelou," the official kick-off event for the inauguration of the university's 16th president, Tracy Fitzsimmons, Ph.D.

"The Shenandoah University community is honored to have Maya Angelou as part of our inauguration celebration," said President Fitzsimmons. "Her literary and creative voice resonates across a variety of media within our culture. It's important we recognize her contributions to literature, to women, to education and to our society."

Angelou is considered one of the great voices of contemporary literature. She is a remarkable Renaissance woman: a poet, memoirist, educator, historian, best-selling author, actress, playwright, civil-rights activist, producer and director. She has authored many dozens of books of literature as well as poetry and essays; she has appeared on the Broadway stage, in films and in television shows; she has written and directed plays; and she has recorded 10 spoken word albums.

Angelou has been a groundbreaker for black women in the film industry through her work in script writing and directing. She has made hundreds of appearances in television. Her best-selling autobiography, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," won critical acclaim in 1970 and became a two-hour special on CBS. She has written and produced prize-winning documentaries, including "Afro-Americans in the Arts" for PBS. Angelou was nominated for an Emmy for her acting in "Roots" and for her screenplay "Georgia, Georgia." In theatre, Angelou produced, directed and starred in "Cabaret for Freedom," a collaborative project with Godfrey Cambridge.

In 1981, Dr. Angelou was appointed to a lifetime position as the first Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University. In January 1993, she became only the second poet in U.S. history to have the honor of writing and reciting original work at the Presidential Inauguration. Her honors include a National Book Award nomination for "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," a Pulitzer Prize nomination for her book of poetry, "Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'Fore I Die," a Tony Award nomination for her role in the 1973 play "Look Away" and three Grammys for her spoken word albums: "On the Pulse Of Morning," "Phenomenal Woman" and "Hallelujah! The Welcome Table." She has served on two presidential committees and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Arts in 2000 and the Lincoln Medal in 2008. She is the recipient of more than 50 honorary degrees from colleges and universities around the world.

Shenandoah University is a comprehensive Level VI private university with an enrollment of more than 3,000 students in six schools: College of Arts & Sciences, Harry F. Byrd, Jr. School of Business, Shenandoah Conservatory, Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy, School of Health Professions (Athletic Training, Nursing and Respiratory Care, Occupational Therapy, Physician Assistant Studies and Physical Therapy) and the School of Education & Human Development. The university offers nearly 90 programs of study at the undergraduate, graduate and professional levels. For more information, contact the Public Relations Office at (540) 665-4510 or visit

Ο λόγος είναι μεγάλη ανάγκη της ψυχής. (Γιώργος Ιωάννου)


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