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Pulitzer Prize winner Ayad Akhtar speaks Sept. 10 at Appalachian’s convocation

BOONE—Appalachian State University’s fall convocation will be held Tuesday, Sept. 10, at 10 a.m. in the Holmes Convocation Center on campus.

View larger imageFaculty senate chairman Andy Koch leads the faculty procession during Appalachian’s 2012 fall convocation. (Photo by Marie Freeman)

This year’s speaker is Ayad Akhtar, author of “American Dervish,” university’s 2013 Summer Reading Program selection. Akhtar will participate in a panel discussion following convocation beginning at 2 p.m. in Plemmons Student Union’s Blue Ridge Ballroom.

Akhtar won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

He also will open the university’s Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series with a 7:30 p.m. reading, also in Blue Ridge Ballroom. The reading is a joint presentation with the university’s Summer Reading Program. Book sales and signing will follow the reading.

Akhtar also will participate in a reading, question and answer session and book signing Sept. 11 at 10:45 a.m. at the Watauga County Library, sponsored by Watauga Reads!

Admission to all events is free and the public is welcome.

“American Dervish” centers on one family’s struggle to identify both as Muslim and American, a common theme in all of Akhtar’s writings.

Akhtar was born in New York City and raised in Milwaukee, Wis. A first generation Pakistani American, Akhtar is a graduate of Brown and Columbia universities with degrees in theater and film directing. Since the 1990s, he has been a resident of New York City.

Also during convocation, faculty and staff members will be recognized for their contributions to the university.

Dr. Scott Hunsinger, a professor in the Department of Computer Information Systems, will be recognized for receiving the 2013 UNC Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence.

Dr. Joy James, assistant professor, Department of Health, Exercise and Leisure and Exercise Science, will be honored as the UNC Board of Governors/Appalachian State University Excellence in Teaching Award recipient.

Recipients of the Board of Governors Appalachian State University School/College Awards are:

  • Dr. Jennifer Burris, assistant professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy
  • Dr. Kevin Kennedy, professor, Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures
  • Dr. Ray Miller, interim director, interdisciplinary studies program and professor, Department of Theatre and Dance
  • Dr. Liz Rose, professor, Hayes School of Music
  • Dr. Laurie Semmes, associate professor, Hayes School of Music
  • Dr. Ray Williams, professor, Department of Biology

Convocation will also include the presentation of the 2013 Appalachian Staff Award winners:

  • Debbie Bauer, Center for Appalachian Studies
  • Amy Greer, Department of English
  • Misti Reese, Office of Admissions
  • Keith Younce, Building Environmental Services