Award-winning novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the 2015 Commencement Speaker

April 10, 2015
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

When it comes to choosing a commencement speaker, Wellesley students drive the selection process. In keeping with Wellesley tradition, the 2015 commencement speaker was announced last night at Senior Soiree—award-winning novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie will address the members of the Wellesley College Class of 2015, and their family and friends, at Wellesley’s 137th Commencement Exercises on Friday, May 29, at 10:30 a.m.

“Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a talented writer, a distinguished humanitarian, and unabashed feminist whose thought-provoking work has inspired a generation,” said President H. Kim Bottomly. “Simply put, she is the perfect choice to send off our graduating seniors as they get ready to make their mark on the world. We can’t wait to welcome her to Wellesley.”

Senior Class President Sahitya Raja '15 said, "I've seen copies of Americanah in the hands of so many students across campus—clearly her voice resonates with this community. She's a compelling speaker and an inspiring figure for us. I am so honored she'll be speaking, and I couldn't be happier." Ahilya Chawla '15, co-vice president of the Class of 2015, added, “in a world where we're always trying to get thinner, better, smarter—her message that women should not 'shrink themselves' is applicable on so many levels.”

Adichie said, “I greatly admire and respect Wellesley College. Its mission—to provide an excellent liberal arts education for women who will make a difference in the world—is close to my heart. We need to encourage more women to dare to change the world. It is an absolute honour to be chosen by the Wellesley College senior class as commencement speaker.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the author of the novels Purple Hibiscus, which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and Half of a Yellow Sun, which won the Orange Prize and was a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist; a New York Times Notable Book; and a People and Black Issues Book Review Best Book of the Year. She is also author of the story collection The Thing Around Your Neck. Her latest novel is Americanah, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Fiction, and was named one of the New York Times Ten Best Books of the Year.

Adichie’s work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, The O. Henry Prize Stories, the Financial Times, and Zoetrope, among other publications. Adichie, the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, divides her time between the United States and Nigeria.