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Updated 10:00 AM October 15, 2007




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Activist, poet, author Maya Angelou addresses Ross school alumni

Speaking on the interdependence of arts and sciences, internationally known poet Maya Angelou says "one hand brushes the other."

Angleou spoke Oct. 12 in Hill Auditorium.
Photo by Scott Galvin, U-M Photo Services

Robert Dolan, dean of the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, invited her to address the intersection between the two disciplines as part of alumni reunion activities for the school.

"It's delightful to meet a dean who understands that arts and sciences go together like peaches and cream," Angelou said, as she took her seat on a stark stage. "I'm delighted, but not surprised."

The school presented "An Afternoon with Maya Angelou" as an intimate meeting with the best-selling author and distinguished social activist, as well as historian, educator, actress, playwright, producer and director. She is the author of a dozen top-selling books, including "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," "The Heart of a Woman" and "A Song Flung Up to Heaven." She also wrote "On the Pulse of the Morning" for Bill Clinton's 1993 presidential inauguration.

When teaching, Angelou told the crowd she often writes a quote from an African slave on the classroom blackboard: "I am a human being. Nothing human can be alien to me."

She urged the crowd to embrace the words when thinking of taking on a foreign activity. "Language, all of it, belongs to us, just like math belongs to us. Science belongs to us, all of the time."

Asking Angelou to speak was a logical decision, Ross officials said.

"Business doesn't exist in a vacuum. It exists in the real, complex world full of artists, writers, poets, doctors, activists and others. We're always looking for speakers who can shed light on the many intersections of business and society," said Paul Gediman, director for the school's Office of Marketing Communications. "Dr. Angelou is a woman of many accomplishments. She has a distinctive voice, offers insight and provokes reflection. That's always good."

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