2023 College of Arts & Sciences Graduation Speakers

Joshua Bennett, C’10, and Hoang Le, C’23, W’23

Joshua Bennett, C’10, award-winning poet, spoken word artist, and author of five books, will address the Class of 2023 at the Graduation Ceremony for the College of Arts & Sciences on Sunday, May 14, at 6:30 p.m. on Franklin Field. He will be joined by student speaker Hoang Le, C’23, W’23.

Bennett’s books of poetry, criticism, and narrative nonfiction include the just-published Spoken Word: A Cultural History ; The Study of Human Life , which was long-listed for the Griffin Poetry Prize and is currently being adapted for television in collaboration with Warner Brothers Studios; Owed , a finalist for the New England Book Award; Being Property Once Myself , winner of the MLA’s William Sanders Scarborough Prize, and The Sobbing School , winner of the National Poetry Series and a finalist for an NAACP Image Award.

At Penn, Bennett majored in English and Africana Studies. He earned a Ph.D. in English from Princeton University and an M.A. in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Warwick, where he was a Marshall Scholar.

Bennett has received fellowships and awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Whiting Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Society of Fellows at Harvard University. This summer, he will join the faculty of MIT as a professor of literature and Distinguished Chair of the Humanities.

Hoang Le, from Davie, Florida, entered Penn as a QuestBridge Scholar and enrolled in the Life Sciences and Management program, a joint program between the College and the Wharton School. He is majoring in biology in the College and in economics at Wharton. Le has served as editor-in-chief of Synapse, an undergraduate medical journal; created and developed the LSM Pipeline Program in partnership with the Netter Center to work with West Philly high schoolers; was a U.N. Millennium Fellow; and won the Y-Prize competition at Penn for an idea using novel steerable needle technology.    

In addition to his studies, Le has been involved in researching new CRISPR genetic engineering systems and their applications. After graduating, he will enroll at Columbia University and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in systems and synthetic biology.


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