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Poet speaks at ceremony honoring top students (Released: 4/15/97)

by Elizabeth Omara-Otunnu, Office of University Communications.

STORRS, Conn. -- A renowned scholar and poet, Marilyn Nelson, gave the keynote address at a ceremony honoring more than 800 high-achieving students at the University of Connecticut.

The 1997 Scholars Day ceremony took place on April 15 in Jorgensen Auditorium on the Storrs campus.

Nelson was a finalist in poetry for the 1991 National Book Award and won the Annisfield-Wolf Award for poetry in 1992. In 1995 she was selected for a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship in France. A professor of English at UConn, she has written eight books and monographs. Her latest collection of poems, The Fields of Praise, will be published by Louisiana State University Press April 16.

The UConn Scholars Day ceremony honored 39 undergraduate students who have been named Babbidge Scholars for maintaining a perfect 4.0 grade-point average for the 1996 calendar year. The scholars are named after the late Homer D. Babbidge Jr., who was UConn's president from 1962 - 1972.

The University also recognized 821 students from six UConn campuses as New England Scholars, students who have maintained a grade-point average of at least 3.5 during the 1996 calendar year.

In addition, the University honored 18 students recently named as University Scholars. The University Scholars program enables talented and highly motivated students to pursue accelerated and nontraditional programs of study. It is the most competitive and prestigious academic program available to students at UConn.

Also on Scholars Day, four faculty members received awards as Teaching Fellows for the 1996-97 academic year: Derek Allinson, professor of agronomy; Jean Givens, associate professor of art; Sandra Rigazio-DiGilio, associate professor of human development and family relations; and Linda Strausbaugh, associate professor of molecular and cell biology. The Fellows were selected by the Institute for Teaching and Learning for their excellence in instruction and their dedication to the teaching profession.