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April 2016

U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera to Visit Santa Clara University

SCU welcomes Juan Felipe Herrera to campus on Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Santa Clara University welcomes Juan Felipe Herrera, the 2015-2016 Poet Laureate of the United States, to campus on Wednesday, May 4, 2016.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., April 4, 2016— Santa Clara University welcomes Juan Felipe Herrera, the 2015-2016 Poet Laureate of the United States, to campus on Wednesday, May 4, 2016. Herrera’s visit is in conjunction with Santa Clara Community Action Program's annual Immigration Week. He will meet with faculty and students during the day and host a free presentation/performance, “Immigration, Migration & the Alien Thing,” that will be open to the public at 7:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall.

"I am excited about having Juan Felipe Herrera share his creative talent with our university community. His powerful prose and poetry take us beyond what we readily see. His life and work are inspirational,"  says Alma M. García, Professor of Sociology and Director of Latin American Studies at Santa Clara.

Herrera is the first Chicano/Mexican American to receive the national Poet Laureate honor. Upon hearing the news, Herrera responded by saying, "This is a mega-honor for me, for my family and my parents who came up north before and after the Mexican Revolution of 1910—the honor is bigger than me.”

Going back to Santa Clara feels a lot like coming home,” said Herrera. “My visit allows me to see my friend and mentor, Professor Francisco Jimenez,  and gives me the pleasure of meeting with the engaging students of SCU again, as I did when I was Poet Laureate for California."

Born in Fowler, California in 1948 to migrant farm worker parents, he moved around often, living in tents and trailers along the road in Southern California, and attended school in a variety of small towns from San Francisco to San Diego. In 1972 Herrera graduated from  UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in social anthropology, then attending Stanford University, where he received a master’s degree in social anthropology. He later pursued a Master’s of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1990.

Herrera is the author of 30 books, including collections of poetry, short stories, young adult novels, and children’s books. His most recent works include a collection of poetry, Notes of Assemblage (2015), a picture book showcasing inspirational Hispanic and Latino Americans, Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes (2014), and another poetry collection, Senegal Taxi (2013).

His writing has received multiple accolades, including the National Book Critics Circle Award, International Latino Book Award, Independent Publisher Book Award, the Américas Award, two Latino Hall of Fame Poetry Awards, three PEN awards, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Stanford University Chicano Fellows.

This event is sponsored with the support of the following departments in the Santa Clara University College of Arts and Sciences: Latin American Studies Program, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, SCU Presents, Ethnic Studies Program, Latino Faculty Group, Santa Clara Review, Department of English, and Creative Writing.

For free tickets:

For more information, contact Shana Moore at

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its more than 9,000 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, theology, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see

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