George Ella Lyon to Speak at Berea College Commencement

George Ella Lyon – photo credit Ann W. Olson

George Ella Lyon, Kentucky Poet Laureate for 2015-16, will speak at Berea College’s 2019 Commencement Ceremony, May 5 at 2 p.m.

An American author and poet, Lyon has published award-winning books for readers of all ages. Her teaching takes the form of workshops, conferences and author visits to as many as 40 schools a year. Aside from publishing, she also taught writing at a number of colleges, including the University of Kentucky, Centre College, Transylvania University and Radford University. She has also acted as an executive committee member for the Women’s Writers Conference.

Adults and children read Lyon’s writing, which includes novels, picture books and poetry. Her poem, “Where I’m From” has been used as a model by teachers around the world and was listed by the New York Public Library in 2000 as one of the best books for teenagers. A sampling of Lyon’s book titles include “She Let Herself Go” (poems) and picture books including “Which Side Are You On?” “The Story of a Song” and “All the Water in the World.” Her book “The Pirate of Kindergarten” received the Schneider Award from the American Library Association. Other accolades for Lyon’s work include a Jane Addams Honor, a Golden Kite and the Bluegrass Award. A series of rhyming books about transportation include “Trucks Roll!,” “Planes Fly!,” and “Boats Float!”

Lyon is a graduate of Centre College, and holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Arkansas and doctorate in English from Indiana University.

Originally from the mountains of Harlan, Kentucky, Lyon says growing up surrounded by extended family and their stories helped develop her voice as a writer. Her Appalachian roots figure prominently in much of her work. Lyon has written more than 40 books, including the poetry collection “Mountain,” which won the Lamont Hall Award in 1983, and “Catalpa,” which was named Appalachian Book of the Year in 1993.

Tickets are required for admission to the Commencement ceremony. Tickets must be obtained in advance and are required for main arena as well as overflow seating. Contact Amanda Leger ([email protected] or 859-985-3775 directly for ticket requests by Friday, April 19. Please note that seating is limited and cannot be guaranteed. To watch the ceremony via livestream on May 5 at 2 p.m., visit: https://livestream.com/bereacollege/Commencement

Earlier in the day, a Nurses’ Pinning Ceremony for Berea’s nursing program graduates will take place at 8:30 a.m. in Phelps Stokes Chapel.

The Baccalaureate Ceremony will follow at 10:30 a.m. in Phelps Stokes Chapel. Rev. Paul Prather, pastor of Bethesda Church in Mount Sterling, Kentucky and a contributing columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader will be the speaker. Music will be provided by the Berea College Concert Choir. (No tickets are required for the Nurses’ Pinning or Baccalaureate ceremonies.)

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