Educator Erin Gruwell To Speak At UVU’s 71st Commencement
January 31, 2012
For Immediate Release
University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807
Written by: Cheryl Kamenski, (801) 863-6351
The Utah Valley University Board of Trustees is pleased to announce educator Erin Gruwell will be the keynote speaker for UVU’s 71st commencement, set for April 26 at 6:30 p.m. in the UCCU Center on the Orem campus. Gruwell authored “The Freedom Writers Diary” chronicling her experiences as a high school teacher who encouraged students to use journal writing to foster learning, tolerance and understanding.
Gruwell later became a distinguished teacher in residence at California State University-Long Beach, and launched the Freedom Writers Foundation, which encourages teachers around the country to implement her innovative lesson plans into their own classrooms. Gruwell’s book also inspired the 2007 movie, “Freedom Writers,” starring two-time Academy Award winning actress Hilary Swank.
“We are deeply honored to have Erin Gruwell address our graduates,” said UVU President Matthew S. Holland. “As someone who has championed so many projects and initiatives focused on student learning and development that have affected thousands of students and educators from various and often challenging backgrounds, she truly emulates the type of academic engagement and inclusive spirit we have at UVU.”
Utah Valley University is located in Orem, Utah, and is home to more than 33,000 students. UVU began as a vocational school during World War II, and in the seven decades since has evolved into a technical school, community college, state college and, finally, a comprehensive regional teaching university. UVU is one of Utah’s largest institutions of higher learning and offers programs ranging from career training to high-demand master degrees, with emphasis on undergraduate education.