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Stanford's 2012 Commencement Speaker is Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, NJ

Cory Booker

Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, since 2006, Cory Booker, will be the 2012 Commencement speaker at Stanford University. Stanford's 121st Commencement Weekend is scheduled for June 16-17.

From the Stanford Report:

Cory A. Booker is serving his second term as the mayor of Newark, where he is leading an urban transformation to help Newark reduce crime and spur security, foster economic growth and create an environment that nurtures residents, particularly families. Booker was first elected in 2006 and re-elected in 2010. In April 2010, Newark experienced its first homicide-free month in more than 40 years.

Twenty years ago, Mayor Booker received a BA in political science from Stanford, followed by an MA in sociology in 1992. While at Stanford, he was elected to the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) council of presidents and earned honorable mention Academic All Pac-10 honors in football. Interested then in the challenges faced by urban youth, he operated a student-run crisis hotline, The Bridge, to aid youth in East Palo Alto.

After leaving Stanford, Booker earned a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford, where he was awarded an honors degree in modern history in 1994. He then attended Yale Law School, where he received his JD in 1996.

Under Booker’s leadership, Newark has committed to a $40 million improvement of parks and playgrounds through a ground-breaking public-private partnership; doubled affordable housing production; and transformed the Newark Police Department. That change, together with the deployment of over 100 surveillance cameras throughout the city, has led to Newark setting the nationwide pace for crime reduction.

"Cory Booker, by the relatively young age of 41, has used his education and his passion for service to improve the lives of every citizen in Newark, N.J., and well beyond," said Stanford President John Hennessy. "His leadership and many accomplishments in Newark are serving as a model for urban renewal in troubled places around the globe. Cory Booker also exemplifies the potential of every Stanford graduate to make a profound difference in the world, and I know he will inspire our 2012 graduates to similarly go forth and make positive contributions with their own lives."

"In choosing Cory Booker to give the 2012 Commencement address, the President’s Office has selected an impassioned and inspirational speaker who will be able to relate naturally with Stanford students," said senior class presidents Jack Trotter, Shruthi Baskaran, MK Li and Amy Kroll. "Cory shares a lot of the same values that we do as students, including the importance of real social change and the power of individuals to make a difference. He was in our shoes 20 years ago, and this speech gives him the opportunity to share with us his perspective and the lessons that he has learned."

You can see here articles on Cory Booker. You can also see Booker interviewed here by Bill Moyers.

See also:

Photo by L.A. Cicero

2012 Saroyan Prize shortlist announced

William Saroyan

Stanford University Libraries has announced the shortlist for the fifth William Saroyan International Prize for Writing, commonly known as the Saroyan Prize.

The Saroyan Prize is intended to encourage new or emerging writers and honor William Saroyan's literary legacy of originality, vitality and stylistic innovation. It recognizes newly published works of both fiction and non-fiction; a prize of $5,000 will be awarded in each category. Winners will be announced this summer.

We have in Special Collections a number of collections of Saroyan material, including manuscripts, personal journals, correspondence, business records, fan mail, books, drawings, family papers, and memorabilia.

41st annual Stanford Powwow this weekend

Nico Phoenix competes in the 2009 Stanford Powwow teen boys' traditional dance competition.

The 41st annual Stanford Powwow will be taking place this weekend (May 11-13) in the Eucalyptus Grove.

From the Stanford Report article on the Powwow:

A powwow is a large social gathering of Indians – a place to renew old friendships and forge new ones, to celebrate and preserve a rich cultural heritage through singing, drumming and dancing, and to introduce the old ways to the young. It is also a place for non-Natives to become part of the celebration of Native ways.


The Stanford Powwow is free and open to the public. Participants are expected from American Indian tribes near and far. The event is expected to attract about 30,000 people. It is the largest student-run powwow in the nation.

You can look here for library resources on Native North Americans and American Indians and here for resources on Native Americans of California more specifically.

Photo by L.A. Cicero.

Maurice Sendak has died at age 83

Maurice Sendak

Maurice Sendak, author and illustrator of 1963's Where the Wild Things Are and 2011's Bumble-Ardy, has died at age 83. The New York Times has a good obituary that addresses Sendak's "splendid nightmares."

Maurice Sendak spoke last fall with Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air; you can listen to that interview here. You can also read here the interview that Sendak did with the Guardian in the fall.

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