Rampersad, Poor to address fall graduates

Dr. Arnold Rampersad, a noted scholar and biographer who earned two degrees from BGSU, and Dr. Gene Poor, the University’s 2004 Master Teacher, will be the speakers for fall commencement exercises.

More than 1,000 students are expected to graduate during ceremonies at Anderson Arena in Memorial Hall. Rampersad will speak at commencement exercises for the Graduate College, which will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 16, while Poor will speak at graduation ceremonies for the undergraduate colleges, at 10 a.m. Dec. 17.

Rampersad is senior associate dean for the humanities and Sarah Hart Kimball Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University. The Bowling Green alumnus also is the 2005-06 President's Visiting Scholar in the Humanities at BGSU. A native of Trinidad who came to the United States in 1965, he earned bachelor's and master's degrees in English from Bowling Green in 1967 and 1968, respectively. He went on to earn a doctorate in English and American literature in 1973 from Harvard University.

Rampersad's work has centered on interpreting the African-American experience through the lens of biography. His prize-winning books include The Art and Imagination of W.E.B. DuBois; The Life of Langston Hughes (two volumes); Days of Grace: A Memoir, co-authored with tennis legend Arthur Ashe, and Jackie Robinson: A Biography. Currently he is at work on a biography of the novelist Ralph Ellison.

In 1991, he was awarded a five-year, $300,000 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship to further his scholarly research. Recipients of the fellowship are chosen on the basis of their talent, creativity and the potential benefit of their work to society. BGSU recognized Rampersad's accomplishments in 1992, presenting him the Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Poor, visual communication and technology education (VCTE), was honored by the Student Alumni Association as BGSU’s Master Teacher last year.

Earlier this year, he was named the first Ernest and Dorothy Hamilton Professor of Entrepreneurship. The endowed professorship in the College of Business Administration was created with a gift from Olympic skater and Bowling Green native Scott Hamilton in memory of his parents, both of whom taught at the University.

Poor, who came to BGSU in 1970 as a doctoral fellow and later founded the VCTE department, is widely known for his pioneering work in the field of animatronics but equally, on campus, for his dedication to his students.

In 1999, he was given the Outstanding Adviser Certificate of Merit by the National Academic Advising Association. At BGSU, he received the 1997-98 College of Technology Adviser of the Year Award and was named co-recipient of the 1998 University Outstanding Adviser Award. The Undergraduate Student Government presented him with the Excellence in Teaching Award in 1985.

The founder of LifeFormations, an animatronics studio in Bowling Green, Poor's success in business was recognized by the accounting firm Ernst & Young in 2004 when he was named a winner of the northwest Ohio Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Poor has written seven books, two of them co-authored with VCT colleague Dr. Rodney Heiligmann.

At commencement, the Graduate College will award degrees to 25 candidates for doctoral degrees, two candidates for doctor of education degrees and 174 master's degree candidates. The remaining students will receive bachelor's degrees. Of those, 142 are expected to graduate with honors.

December 12, 2005