NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University will hold its Fall 2019 Commencement Exercises on Friday, Dec. 20 in Prather Coliseum.
Graduates from the Gallaspy Family College of Education and Human Development, the Louisiana Scholars’ College and the College of Arts and Sciences with the exception of those receiving degrees in general studies, electronic engineering technology and industrial engineering technology will receive diplomas at 10 a.m. College of Arts and Sciences graduates in general studies, electronic engineering technology and industrial engineering technology along with those receiving degrees from the College of Nursing and School of Allied Health and the College of Business and Technology will receive diplomas at 3 p.m.
The commencement speaker will be author Denise Lewis Patrick.
Patrick is the is the author of over 30 published books, an adjunct professor, and children’s writing advocate. She’s written fiction, non-fiction and poetry for every age group, including board books, picture books, biographies, middle grade historical fiction and young adult fiction.
Her 2014 short story collection, “A Matter of Souls,” was listed as one of the Best Teen Books by Kirkus Reviews. Her novel about Hurricane Katrina, “Finding Someplace,” was listed as a Best Middle Grade Book of 2015 by Kirkus. Most recently she was a contributor to the 2018 award-winning anthology, “We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices.”
Prior to completing her first picture book, “Red Dancing Shoes” in 1993, Patrick had a varied career in the publishing industry as a freelance writer and editor. In Scholastic’s elementary magazine department, she wrote news articles and plays, created puzzles and word games and wrote the accompanying teaching guides and activities. She wrote for both Golden Books and Children’s Television Workshop and edited a series of books for Macmillan Publishing.
Patrick was born and reared in Natchitoches, and grew up surrounded by many generations of family. After working on the Natchitoches Central High School newspaper, she decided to major in journalism, graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern State University. She received an MFA in fiction from the University of New Orleans.
She currently serves as a member of the author advisory board for the Books For Kids Foundation and the NSU New Media, Journalism, and Communication Arts Advisory Committee.
In 2014, she was named to the NSU Alumni Hall of Distinction, the Long Purple Line, following in the footsteps of her father G. Stanley Lewis who was inducted in 1999. In the same year she received the Creole People’s Award from the Creole Heritage Center. She is one of Louisiana Public Broadcasting’s 2019 Louisiana Legends and was selected this past summer as a 2019 Kimbilio Writing Fellow.