She’s a poet, activist, writer, director, educator, artist and more. She’s THE phemonemal woman. Hell, she even knows why the caged bird sings.
Graduation will be a special day for MSU seniors. It will be a day of both joy- and sorrow-filled tears, a day that will begin a new chapter in students’ lives. It will be a celebration for both family and friends that will be remembered forever. Sharing in the celebration this year is th modern-day legend on many levels, Dr. Maya Angelou.
MSU’s University Relations announced in early April that Angelou would be the 2005 undergraduate convocation speaker. Students, graduating or otherwise, friends and family are invited to the event, which will begin at 1 p.m., Friday, May 6, at the Breslin Center.
[glenda] As Angelou tells others, she learned from her experiences, growing up in three different states and traveling extensively throughout the globe.
Her speech at commencement will no doubt be something to remember. Glenda Olivache, a Merchandise Management senior, is graduating next week and looking forward to Angelou’s speech. “I think that she will have a great impact on the graduating class,” Olivache said, “Her words of wisdom will carry with the students forever.”
Some students less familiar with Angelou’s works are indifferent to her upcoming speech, however. “It’s not a bad thing that she is the speaker, but I wish it was someone I related to more,” said Samantha Hagerman, a human resource management senior.
Familiar with her or not, Angelou has been a powerful presence for many years in many students’ lives and education. The mere mention of her name is usually recognized and understood. Perhaps you first heard of her in middle school from reading her autobiographical novel, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings:
“My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.”
Angelou’s prolific writings appeal to different people on different levels. At an early age, you learned how she overcame struggles and tragedy. Maybe you even dealt with some of these things yourself, drawing strength from Angelou’s words. Perhaps you found solace in those words about finding yourself and your place as a teen in high school or maybe you identified with her feelings about music in Gather Together In My Name:
“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”
Maybe you were introduced to her as recently as in college, learning that experiences are what get you where you are as a student and graduate on this life-long journey by reading Wouldn’t Take Nothing From My Journey Now:
[maya] “Human beings are more alike than unalike, and what is true anywhere is true everywhere, yet I encourage travel to as many destinations as possible for the sake of education as well as pleasure.”
You have been learning, growing and meeting people who have helped you change and grow along the way, and Angelou is likely one of those people. She is a force as a poet, author, educator, activist and legend to direct you on your next path.
Hopefully her words will touch you as they will many people at this year’s commencement; they will be something you can take with you as you move onto the next phase of life:
“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” –Maya Angelou

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