Award Winning Author Sherman Alexie to Give IAIA Commencement Address    

Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie

Ceremony to take place Saturday, May 16, 2015

SANTA FE—Multi-award winning poet, novelist, and performer, Sherman Alexie, has been selected to give the Institute of American Indian Arts’ (IAIA) 2015 commencement address at 11:00 am on Saturday, May 16, 2015.  This marks the first year that IAIA’s commencement will be held on a Saturday.

Alexie, who was recently inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, is the author of 24 books including “What I’ve Stolen, What I’ve Earned;” “Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories;” and “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.”

“Smoke Signals,” the movie he wrote and co-produced, won the Audience Award and Filmmakers Trophy at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. A Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Indian, Alexie grew up in Wellpinit, Washington, on the Spokane Indian Reservation, and currently lives in Seattle with his family.

In addition to this distinguished speaker, the Institute will also honor Associated Student Government President Jamelyn Ebelacker (Santa Clara Pueblo), who will graduate with a BFA in New Media Arts, and will speak during the ceremony, representing the entire IAIA Student Body.

2015 marks the first year that IAIA will graduate students with an MFA degree in Creative Writing.  16 students have earned the degree this year, and will be recognized at the ceremony.  Jon Davis, Director of IAIA’s MFA Program, commented, “This is a historic moment for IAIA and for these students who have worked so hard to get to this point.”

IAIA President Dr. Robert Martin (Cherokee Nation), remarked that “this is a significant milestone in the natural evolution and expansion of IAIA’s mission from a high school, to offering associate and bachelor’s degrees, and now graduate programs.  I am so proud of the commitment and passion of our faculty, staff and students”.

The public is welcome to attend the 2015 commencement, which will be held in the Dance Circle at the center of campus.  IAIA is located at 83 Avan Nu Po Road, eight minutes from the intersection of Rodeo Road and Richards Avenue on the south side of Santa Fe. The school will also stream the commencement ceremony live on May 16 starting at 10:30 am.  To stream the event, please visit https://iaiaonline.blackboard.com the morning of commencement.

Offering undergraduate degrees in Studio Arts, Creative Writing, Cinematic Arts and Technology, Indigenous Liberal Studies, and Museum Studies — and a graduate degree in Creative Writing — IAIA is the only college in the nation dedicated to the study of contemporary Native arts. The school serves 531 Native and non-Native American college students from across the globe.  IAIA is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges — and is the only college in New Mexico accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

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