Fort Valley State University will welcome writer Pearl Cleage as the keynote speaker for the seventh annual Research Day, to take place on its main campus on Thursday, April 20, 2017. Ms. Cleage is currently the Mellon Playwright in Residence at the Tony award-winning Alliance Theatre. She is the author of eight novels, including, What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day, an Oprah’s Book Club pick that spent nine weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and Baby Brother’s Blues, which won an NAACP Image Award for Literature. Ms. Winfrey commissioned Cleage and husband Zaron Burnett, Jr. to write the poem We Speak Your Names for her 2005 Legends Weekend and A 21st Century Freedom Song: For Selma at 50 for the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March. Cleage’s plays are performed each year all over the country.
Ms. Cleage will speak during a noon luncheon in FVSU’s C.W. Pettigrew Center, 1005 State University Drive in Fort Valley. Student presentations and other workshops will take place throughout the day, beginning at 8:00 a.m. and ending at 3:30 p.m.
Cleage’s participation in Research Day helps highlight the event’s focus on innovation and creativity. Building on the theme “Charting a New Direction: Moving From Stem to STEAM,” more than 90 undergraduate and graduate students will present research in an extremely diverse range of areas, including agriculture, farming, solar lighting, academic evaluation and success, hair oils, child development, sleep deprivation, animal health, flame retardants, geriatric patients, soils, diet, suicide prevention, toxic chemicals, organ segmentation, birth weight factors, cell phone utilization, millennials, hair care, religion, identity, stress, media portrayals of African Americans, drug abuse, the blues, objectification of women, and the Zika virus. The unique program pairs students with faculty mentors and other collaborators who help them get hands-on experience and exposure to cutting-edge research. This year’s program highlights the inseparable link between art, the humanities, science, technology, engineering, and math in the quest for discovery.
“Without question, the experiences of the human race require both the arts and sciences to solve life’s greatest problems and to liberate the greatest splendors of our foremost creative imagination,” said Dr. Andrew Lee, chair for Research Day and director for the Undergraduate Research Program. “We are working to help students realize their creative-oriented dreams, so that they are able to transform awesome potential into undisputed academic excellence.”
Ms. Cleage’s fifteen plays include Flyin’ West, the most produced new American play in the country in 1994, Blues for an Alabama Sky, Late Bus to Mecca, Bourbon at the Border, A Song for Coretta, The Nacirema Society Requests the Honor of Your Presence at a Celebration of Their First One Hundred Years, What I Learned in Paris and Pointing at the Moon. She has penned numerous columns, articles and essays for a wide variety of publications including Essence, Ebony, Rap Pages, Vibe, The Atlanta Tribune, and The Atlanta Journal Constitution. She was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from her alma mater, Spelman College.
Contact: Cedric Mobley
Phone: (478) 825-6518
Founded in 1895, Fort Valley State University is one of the nation’s most innovative academic institutions, leveraging its unique role as a state and land-grant institution to make educational opportunity available for everyone. The university’s undergraduate and graduate campus and online degree programs enroll almost 3,000 students from all over the world. As part of its commitment to excellence, the university has produced more African-Americans with mathematics degrees than any other college in the nation in two of the past three years. FVSU students participate in more than 80 academic and civic organizations, honor societies and study abroad programs. FVSU is an 1890 land-grant institution within the University System of Georgia and a member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and NCAA Division II league. Learn more by visiting www.FVSU.edu.