University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations


May 8, 2004
Contact: Jen Zoghby, (251) 460-6360

Alabama’s Poet Laureate Addresses Graduates at USA Spring Commencement May 8

Alabama Poet Laureate Dr. Sue Brannan Walker gave the University of South Alabama 2004 spring commencement address at the USA Mitchell Center on Saturday, May 8 at 2 p.m. USA awarded 2,384 degrees this year, bringing the historic number of USA graduates to 53,263. (Click here for a transcript of Dr. Walker's address.)

At the USA spring commencement ceremony, USA awarded the following degrees: 823 bachelor’s; 271 master’s; 61 doctors of medicine; 13 educational specialists; and three doctor of philosophy degrees.

Known nationally and internationally for her poetry, Dr. Sue Brannan Walker is Alabama’s Poet Laureate, an honor given by the Alabama Writers’ Conclave and commissioned by Gov. Bob Riley. As Poet Laureate, Dr. Walker will promote poetry across the state through 2006.

Dr. Walker, who is chair of USA’s department of English, is also known for her critical articles on poets and writers such as James Dickey, Marge Piercy, Margaret Atwood and Carson McCullers.

Dr. Sue Walker
   Dr. Sue Walker, chair of the USA English  Department, delivered the Spring Commencement  Address at the May 8 ceremony. Walker, who has  been named Alabama's Poet Laureate, urged the  graduates to write their own ode to joy, the poem of  their lives.

Dr. Walker has published six volumes of poetry, most recently It’s Good Weather for Fudge: Conversing with Carson McCullers. Her book of poetry, Blood Must Bear Your Name, won Book of the Year from the Alabama State Poetry Society and a Pulitzer Prize nomination.

The first class of Abraham Mitchell Scholars graduated May 8. These top students have benefited from USA’s largest and most prestigious scholarship, which offers students $8,000 per year for tuition, housing, books and fees.
   The first class of Abraham Mitchell Scholars received their diplomas at Spring  Commencement. Graduates, from left, Cristie Miller, Leann Bosarge and Brian  Ladner received congratulations from Abraham Mitchell and USA President Gordon  Moulton.

Now, after receiving awards throughout their undergraduate careers, these graduates are planning on working in the local community. These scholarships have kept the best and brightest students at home, improving our local economy and brightening Mobile’s prospects for the future. The Mitchell Scholar graduates are: Leann Bosarge, Brian Ladner, Cristie Miller and Joshua Rubey.

Abraham Mitchell, a local businessman and philanthropist, said the goal of the program is to keep the best students at home.

“It is very satisfying that we are developing a future core of business leaders for Mobile and the surrounding area,” Mitchell said. “Mobile has always developed a lot of talented high school students and many of them often go away to seek education. We’re committed to keeping them close to home at USA.”

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