U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera will receive an honorary doctorate during Fresno State’s 105th commencement on May 21 at the Save Mart Center.
According to the college, the former Fresno State professor will be recognized with a doctor of letters degree for his “poetic influence in shaping cultural ideals and the human spirit.”
Herrera, a Fowler native and Fresno State teacher from 1990-2004, was named the U.S. poet laureate in 2015 and was appointed to a second term in 2016. Herrera is the first Hispanic to hold the position. He was California poet laureate from 2012 to 2014 and was elected chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2011.
He has written 28 books of poetry, as well as young adult novels and collections for children. Herrera has won many honors, including the Hungry Mind Award of Distinction, the Focal Award, two Latino Hall of Fame Poetry Awards and a PEN West Poetry Award.
Herrera, the son of migrant farmworkers, studied at UCLA and Stanford University and received a master’s degree from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He was also the chairman of the Chicano and Latin American Studies Department at Fresno State. Now a Fresno resident, he recently retired from the University of California at Riverside, where he was chairman of the creative writing department.
Ashleigh Panoo: firstname.lastname@example.org, 559-441-6010.