Tuesday, Apr. 9, 2013 12:00 am

Poet Sarah Kay will be the Commencement speaker at Grinnell College's Commencement Exercises at 10 a.m. Monday, May 20. (Information about location, tickets and livestreaming is in the "About Commencement" section below.)

Kay began performing her spoken-word poetry when she was only 14 years old, and quickly became a regular at the famous Bowery Poetry Club in New York. Since then, she has performed on HBO's Def Comedy Jam and in programs at Lincoln Center and the United Nations, where she was a featured performer for the launch of the 2004 World Youth Report. A featured speaker at the 2011 TED Conference on "The Rediscovery of Wonder," she also has performed in a number of other countries, including the Czech Republic, India, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Kay is founder and co-director of Project V.O.I.C.E., a charitable organization that celebrates and inspires self-expression in youth through spoken-word poetry. She also is a documentary filmmaker, playwright, singer, songwriter, photographer and editor for Write Bloody Publishing. Kay is the author of a book, B, and her work can be found in literary journals, including Foundling Review, Damselfly Press, decomP and The Literary Bohemian.

Kay holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Brown University.

About Grinnell's Honorary Degree Recipients

At Grinnell's Commencement, Kay will receive an honorary doctor of letters degree.

Honorary degrees will also be awarded to two Grinnell alumni:

  • Computer scientist Nathaniel Borenstein '80, known, among other things, as one of the original designers of the MIME protocol for formatting multimedia e-mail. He also sent the first e-mail attachment. Borenstein will receive an honorary doctor of science degree.
  • Bonnie Tinker '69, a longtime peace and equal rights activist. Tinker co-founded Love Makes a Family, which advocates for non-traditional families, including those led by same-sex parents. Tinker was killed in a bicycle accident in 2009; her sister, Mary Beth Tinker, will be at Commencement to accept Tinker's honorary doctor of laws degree.

At this year's Commencement, Grinnell will inaugurate a new practice of awarding an honorary degree to a high school teacher. The recipient of that award will be announced later in April.

About Grinnell's Commencement

Grinnell College's Commencement exercises will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, May 20, on Central Campus. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in the Charles Benson Bear '39 Recreation and Athletic Center. No tickets are required to attend the 10 a.m. Commencement exercises.

The ceremony will also be livestreamed at http://www.grinnell.edu. For more information about Grinnell College's commencement, go to http://www.grinnell.edu/commencement.

About Grinnell College

Since its founding in 1846, Grinnell has become one of the nation's premier liberal arts colleges, enrolling 1,600 students from all 50 states and from as many international countries. Grinnell's rigorous academic program emphasizes excellence in education for students in the liberal arts; the college offers the B.A. degree in a range of departments across the humanities, arts and sciences. Grinnell has a strong tradition of social responsibility and action, and self-governance and personal responsibility are key components of campus life. More information about Grinnell College is available at www.grinnell.edu.