Poet and literary critic Dana Gioia will be the 2007 commencement speaker, and the former Episcopal bishop of California, the Rt. Rev. William E. Swing, will be this year’s baccalaureate speaker.

Gioia is chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, appointed by President Bush in 2003. He holds a BA (’73) and an MBA (’77) from Stanford and a master’s degree in comparative literature from Harvard. Gioia’s work has appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the Washington Post Book World, the New York Times Book Review, Slate and the Hudson Review. He has taught as a visiting writer at Colorado College and Sarah Lawrence College, as well as Johns Hopkins, Mercer and Wesleyan universities.

Gioia’s life story “is one of an unyielding thirst for knowledge and relentless dedication to the art of the written word,” President John Hennessy said. Alluding to the fact that Gioia was the first in his family to attend college, Hennessy added, “His experiences are a testament to the fact that education is a lifelong journey and that taking on new challenges, while risky, can open doors to a remarkably rich existence....[S]uch life lessons are of tremendous value for those about to embark on a new phase of life, and I am eager to hear his words of wisdom for our graduating students.”