The End of an Era: Nikki Giovanni Retires After 35 Years on the Faculty at Virginia Tech

Nikki Giovanni, University Distinguished Professor of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, has retired after 30 years on the faculty.

“In all fairness, I’m getting old,” Professor Giovanni said. She is 79 years old.

Professor Giovanni has been teaching at Virginia Tech since 1987. She is the author of many collections of poetry, children’s books, and works of nonfiction. She has published 11 illustrated children’s books, received 30 honorary degrees and seven NAACP Image Awards, and has been a finalist for a Grammy and for the National Book Award.

Her latest book, A Library, is set to debut this fall at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. It recounts her weekly visits as a child to a segregated library near her home.

“Nikki Giovanni has been an important and deeply valued presence on our campus, giving voice to the spirit of Virginia Tech and helping us celebrate, mourn, learn, heal, and be better,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. “Her words will continue to inspire us and touch readers around the world, and while we will miss her regular presence on campus, she will always be a beloved member of our university community.”

Professor Giovanni is a graduate of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee.

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  1. Lets be honest for a moment. Nikki Giovanni was a literal walking and talking contradiction on numerous levels. Nikki spent 3.5 decades at an historically White College and University (HWCU) called Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech is just as racist as Ole Miss from the 1960s.

    In fact, the Black students at VT are relegated to a position of being virtually invisible. What I find rather duplicitous of Nikki is her incessant pontificating “Black this and Black that” all the while she sharing her wealth and other resources with a White woman. Last, if Nikki loved the Black community so much why she never taught at an HBCU?

    • HBCYU Watch: Who Dr. G lives with or loves is, frankly, her biz.

      I Prefer to honor and quote her: “I recommend old age,” she said. “There’s just nothing as wonderful as knowing you have done your job.” [NYT 12/16/20]

      Well done & well said.

  2. Niki, congratulations on your retirement! Your Britton Family from Cincinnati are so very proud of you! You have touched so many lives. May God continue to bless you as you bring joy to the world. “God is love”

    Joan and Oscar Britton

  3. The fact that you may object to where she worked and who she spends her life with does not negate that “she has published 11 illustrated children’s books, received 30 honorary degrees and seven NAACP Image Awards, and has been a finalist for a Grammy and for the National Book Award.” So this is, indeed, the end of an era.

    • No need for the emotive rant and the utter misuse of the “HBCU Watch” moniker. It’s quite evident that you’re a rabid neoliberal who’s totally oblivious to daily realities of native born Black Americans. Lets unpack Nikki’s accomplishments according to you. First, “she has published 11 illustrated children’s books”. This carries no weight in within the so-called Black community and it has no substantive intellectual footprint. Second, she has “received 30 honorary degrees” which means nothing within academia along with it can easily be revoked. Third, the “seven NAACP Image Awards” definitely have No true value within so-called Black America. Just think, the spineless and politically correct NAACP gave this same award to the likes of R. Kelly. Fourth, the ” National Book Award” is another meaningless accolade because its based upon White likability and subjectivity.

      In the final analysis, it does matter where you work along with who you spend your life with.

    • Amen!!
      Problem: White media never consults a professer of African American history from a HBCU…and we play into it.

      Solution: Black Households (10+ million) collectively purchase/subscribe to our media platform. We could collectively buy PBS.

      • Hey Chas P,

        You’re absolutely correct. In addition to the White media not consulting native born Black American historians, they don’t use native born Black American from HBCUs in political science, psychology, sociology, law school, medical school, pharmacy school, and especially international relations/foreign policy because of the deeply embedded racism in this country. As such, the native born Black American community shouldn’t even be remotely surprised in any capacity.

  4. I grew-up on the campus of one (SC State) and graduated from another (Morehouse) HBCU.

    Do not the Black students at PWIs need the presence of minority faculty and staff, especially when you consider just over 1% of all college students who are black attend HBCUs?!

    AND, it’s irrelevent & immaterial who she’s romantically involved wuth!

  5. Hey Frank,

    For the record, it does matter where native born Black American men/women work along with who they spend their life with. Based upon your misguided comment, you must a “swirler” of the highest order. Also, you statistics on the number of native born Black Americans who attend HBCUs is patently incorrect. Are you a native born Black American? Or, what Third World African or Caribbean country to you come from? Last, you have an acute case of cognitive dissonance of the highest order.

    • With all due respect, something you clearly have not extended to me, the initial portion of your response agrees with what I originally posted!

      2nd, whether I am or am not Black is irrelevant although, if my certified birth certificate is to be believed, I am, in fact, native born African American, the child, grandchild, cousin and nephew of folks who are A.A.!

      I regret that, on a scholarly website, you cant find it within your self to have an intelligent, agree to disagree conversation!

      And, the fact remains, the majority of African American college students in the U.S. do not attend an H.B.C.U. (although I and the majority of my family who attended college did so!).

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