Notable Speaker Series To Feature Current Poet Laureate

Ada Limón to meet privately with students prior to public lecture

On Thursday, September 21, the 24th Poet Laureate of the United States, Ada Limón, will take the stage at O’Laughlin Auditorium. Limón is the author of six books of poetry, including The Carrying, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry. Her latest book, The Hurting Kind, is out now from Milkweed Editions.

AdaLimonLimón comes to Saint Mary’s as the 2023 Francis A. McAnaney Humanities Lecture speaker. The Francis A. McAnaney Humanities Lecture Is the new name of the notable speaker series at Saint Mary’s College, formerly known as the Christian Culture Lecture. Over the years, this humanities-focused lecture series has welcomed remarkable writers, historians, philosophers, and theologians to campus.

This year’s event continues programming that was first established in 1957 by the late Professor Bruno P. Schlesinger. Schlesinger founded the first interdisciplinary major at the College, the Christian Culture Program, which was later renamed Humanistic Studies. The lectures born of this interdisciplinary program continued for a quarter century, featuring distinguished scholars such as Mircea Eliade, Jaroslav Pelikan, Brian Tierney, and Lawrence Stone.

In 2006, thanks to the generosity of a 1961 graduate of the program, Susan Fitzgerald Rice, and her husband, Donald B. Rice, the series was revived as the Christian Culture Lecture. Under this banner, the series has welcomed an array of distinguished speakers including Jill Lepore, Tara Westover, Tracy K. Smith, Margaret Atwood, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and more. In 2022, The Francis A. McAnaney Humanities Lecture was endowed by a gift from the Peter B. and Adeline W. Ruffin Foundation to continue this important cultural lecture series in perpetuity. 

Laura Williamson, associate professor in the Department of Humanistic Studies, is the organizer of the annual lecture series. She says the purpose of the McAnaney Lecture is to highlight prominent figures in the humanities to not only the college campus, but also the community. The McAnaney Lecture allows students to meet with nationally and internationally recognized authors, theologians, lawyers, and others who have experience in the Humanities field. 

In keeping with tradition, while she is on campus Limón will be the guest of honor at a seminar for invited Saint Mary’s and area high school students. Here she will discuss the craft of poetry. Like other Poet Laureates before her, Limón is tasked with raising the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry. 

Limón grew up in Sonoma, California, earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from New York University, and is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and the Kentucky Foundation for Women. She now lives in Lexington, Kentucky, where she writes and teaches remotely. Her one-year term as the Poet Laureate of the United States comes ends later this fall. 

September 20, 2023


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