Nikki Giovanni To Visit Texas Tech University

The Texas Tech University Libraries will host internationally acclaimed poet, activist and educator Nikki Giovanni at 2 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 14) in the Allen Theatre, located in the Student Union Building.   

Written by: Ben Samples

The Texas Tech University Libraries will host internationally acclaimed poet, activist and educator Nikki Giovanni at 2 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 14) in the Allen Theatre, located in the Student Union Building.

The libraries will hold the event in conjunction with the African-American Education Summit – "Save Ourselves, Save Our Students" at Texas Tech.

Giovanni, a distinguished professor of English at Virginia Tech University, is most widely known for her candor in writing and lectures on issues surrounding civil rights and equality.

"When I learned that we had an opportunity to bring Nikki Giovanni to Texas Tech I didn’t think twice," said Donald Dyal, dean of libraries at Texas Tech. "When you look at her life it’s easy to see that this is one gutsy lady. She speaks her mind and stands for her beliefs."

Giovanni has received numerous honors, including The Chicago Public Library Foundation's Carl Sandburg Literary Award for lifetime achievement, the Langston Hughes Medal for Outstanding Poetry and the first ever Rosa Parks Woman of Courage Award.

"In higher education, and everywhere else, courage is too often talked about and too little exhibited," Dyal said. "Professor Giovanni speaks not just to African-Americans, but to all of us about fighting for what is right."

Even Texas Tech’s own Robert Baker, a Horn professor of biological sciences, paid tribute to Giovanni in 2007 by naming a bat he discovered in west Ecuador, "Micronycteris giovanniae" – meaning big-eared bat.

"I wanted to honor a significant person in this world that I didn’t know – I came up with Nikki Giovanni," Baker said. "I enjoy reading her poetry and I come from the deep South, so I really can appreciate what she has done for the state of race relations."

Additional funding provided by the Texas Tech Office of Institutional Diversity. Admission to the event is free and open to the public.

CONTACT: Jeff Whitley, director, Communications and Marketing, Texas Tech University Libraries, (806) 742-3685 or jeff.whitley@ttu.edu