Former San Antonio Poet Laureate Carmen Tafolla to serve as Commencement Speaker Thursday

Poet, performance artist and professor Carmen Tafolla, PhD, will serve as the commencement speaker during ceremonies on May 10 at Freeman Coliseum. OLLU will confer the degrees for more than 500 undergraduate and graduate students.

Dr. Tafolla served as San Antonio’ first Poet Laureate from 2012-2014. In 2015, she was named State Poet Laureate of Texas.

The author of more than 30 books, Dr. Tafolla has received numerous awards including the prestigious Americas Award, presented to her at the Library of Congress in 2010. She is the recipient of five International Latino Book Awards, two Tomas Rivera Book Awards, three American Library Association Notable Books, the Art of Peace Award, and Top Ten Books for Babies Award. She has been recognized by the National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies for work which “gives voice to the people and cultures of this land.”

Dr. Tafolla has been published in English, Spanish, French, German and Bengali, and she has performed her one-woman show throughout the Americas, Europe and New Zealand. Her latest poetry books include “Rebozos,” winner of three First Prize International Latino Book Awards; “This River Here: Poems of San Antonio;” and “Curandera,” a 30th anniversary edition. This spring she was named president of the Texas Institute of Letters. Dr. Tafolla is currently co-authoring the adult biography of noted 1930s civil rights leader and OLLU alumna Emma Tenayuca.

Dr. Tafolla holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Austin College, and a PhD in bilingual education from the University of Texas at Austin.

Graduation celebrations will begin Thursday morning with Ring Blessing and Graduation Liturgy.
The schedule of events is as follows:

Ring Blessing – 10 a.m. – Sacred Heart Chapel
Students will have the opportunity to have their rings and other items individually blessed. Graduation regalia not required.

New alumni and family meet and greet – 10:30 a.m. – Chapel Auditorium

Graduation Liturgy – 12 p.m. – Sacred Heart Chapel
Graduating students and their families and friends are invited to celebrate Mass. Graduation regalia required.

Commencement Ceremony – 6:30 p.m. – Freeman Coliseum
3201 E. Houston Street
San Antonio, Texas 78219