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Award-Winning Poet Will Be Last in BenU Virtual Speaker Series

March 22, 2021


aimee Nexhukumatathil speaks

An acclaimed poet and essayist who wrote Barnes & Noble’s 2020 book of the year will be the last featured guest in BenU’s Journeys in Leadership virtual speaker series on Thursday, April 28, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of “The World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, & Other Astonishments,” a collection of essays about the natural world. Nezhukumatathil has also written four previous poetry collections: “Oceanic,” “Lucky Fish,” “At the Drive-In Volcano,” and “Miracle Fruit.” Her writing has appeared in multiple publications, including “The New York Times Magazine.” She received a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pushcart Prize, a Mississippi Arts Council grant, and was named a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow in poetry. She is a professor of English and creative writing in the University of Mississippi’s master of fine arts program.

Nezhukumatathil is the last in a series of virtual speakers that began with Martha Gilmer, CEO of the San Diego Symphony. “Aimee is a remarkable writer,” said Phillip Hardy, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Political Science and leader of the committee that found the speakers. “I love that we will be able to bookend this series with Martha, an accomplished woman CEO of a symphony, and Aimee, a poet, educator, and author.”

During the event, Nezhukumatathil will spend a short time talking about her career and journey in leadership. Then, a panel of students, alumni, faculty and staff will ask her questions about what she has learned over the years. Finally, she will field questions from attendees.

The April 28 event is open to the general public. Click HERE to register for the event.


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has a branch campus in Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 5,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the ninth consecutive year in 2019. Benedictine University was also named the second-safest campus in the country and safest campus in Illinois by in 2019. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. For more information about the University, contact (630) 829-6300, or visit

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