BLACKSBURG, Va., April 12, 2010 – Fred D'Aguiar, professor of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, has been reappointed the Gloria D. Smith Professor of Africana Studies by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.
The Gloria D. Smith Professorship in Africana Studies was established in 1995 by former Virginia Tech President Paul Torgersen with funds from the Athletic Association. The professorship, named in honor of the late Gloria D. Smith, a counselor and advocate of minority students on campus before her retirement, is awarded for a period of two years to an outstanding faculty member who contributes significantly to the growth and development of minority students, student athletes, and scholarly pursuits. The honoree also oversees the Gloria D. Smith Speaker Series and makes at least one university-wide presentation during his/her tenure.
D'Aguiar is one of the most well known of contemporary English writers of African descent. He is a novelist, playwright, poet, and essayist whose latest book, a poetry collection titled Continental Shelf, was a U.K. Poetry Book Society Choice and also shortlisted for the prestigious T.S. Elliott Prize for poetry in 2009. His publications include such critically acclaimed works as An English Sampler: Selected and New Poems, Dear Future, A Jamaican Airman Foresees His Death, and Feeding the Ghosts. His work has been produced for television, film, and radio, and has been translated into many languages. Last summer, D’Aguiar was granted an honorary doctorate last summer by the University of Kent.
D’Aguiar came to Virginia Tech from the University of Miami where he directed a successful Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing. He chairs the English Department’s Diversity Committee and co-chairs the Creative Writing Committee and the Creative Writing Graduate Faculty group. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Kent, England.