Nikki Giovanni, University Distinguished Professor of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, recently retired after 30 years on the faculty. She has now been conferred the title of University Distinguished Professor Emerita.
The university stated that Professor Giovanni inspired a generation of people of color, especially young poets, and became an institution of American arts and letters. She has made countless contributions to poetry, African American literature, and the international Black community.
Professor Giovanni began teaching at Virginia Tech in 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, (Versify, 2022) recounts her weekly visits as a child to a segregated library near her home.
Professor Giovanni is a graduate of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee.