Poet, activist and performer Jamie Dawson was announced Wednesday as the Winter Commencement student speaker.
Dawson, a senior who majored in Afro-American studies and psychology, was selected by the senior class officers to give the commencement speech at the Kohl Center.
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“While hearing more about Jamie and her experiences at UW–Madison, we knew she was someone who reflected what the Wisconsin Idea stands for,” senior class president Ronald Steinhoff said in a UW news release.
Originally from Tampa, FL, Dawson arrived on campus as part of the 9th cohort of the First Wave Scholarship Program, a four-year scholarship that supports a blend of the students’ artistic talents, academic goals, professional development and activism.
Since high school, she has competed in national poetry festivals and participated in a youth arts poetry collective.
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When Dawson gives her speech in front of hundreds of students, her history as a performer and writer will be evident, she said.
“I will be very intentional,” Dawson said. “This will not be a squandered moment.”
Dawson will be joined by former MLB commissioner and Milwaukee Brewers founder Allan “Bud” Selig, who will be the commencement speaker.