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Rita Dove, Miami alumna, receives National Medal of the Arts

02/15/2012

Rita Dove receives the National Medal of the Arts from President Barack Obama. (Photo courtesy of the White House.)
Rita Dove, Miami University graduate and former poet laureate, was awarded a 2011 National Medal of the Arts by President Barack Obama. Dove, who graduated in 1973, was one of eight people presented with the medal on Feb. 13.

Now a Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia, Dove was awarded for her contributions as a poet and author, and for advocating for diversity and vitality in her works. At 40, she was the youngest person ever named U.S. poet laureate; she was the second African American and only the second woman to serve in that position. Dove served as poet laureate and consultant to the Library of Congress from 1993-95.

The National Medal of Arts is the highest award in the U.S. that can be bestowed upon artists and arts patrons. The National Endowment for the Arts selects nominees. Dove has also earned a Pulitzer Prize in 1987 and a National Humanities Medal in 1996.

Along with Dove, the awardees included actor Al Pacino, painter Will Barnet, philanthropist Emily Rauh Pulitzer, sculptor Martin Puryear, classical pianist André Watts, country music legend Mel Tillis, and the United Service Organization.

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