Helen Vendler, A. Kingsley Porter University Professor at Harvard and a world-renowned scholar of poetry written in English, will be the commencement speaker at Colby College in Maine on May 25, President William D. Adams announced. Vendler is a member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Swedish Academy of Arts and Sciences and a past president of the Modern Language Association.

Vendler is a former director of and a regular participant at The Yeats International Summer School in Sligo, Ireland, and has been a visiting scholar at major universities in the United States, England and Ireland. She holds 16 honorary degrees from colleges and universities in the United States, England and Ireland. She is the author of critically acclaimed books on Yeats, Keats, Herbert, Stevens, Shakespeare and Seamus Heaney, and she reviews contemporary poetry for The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New Republic and The London Review of Books.

At Colby’s commencement honorary degrees will be presented to Vendler; Clifford Geertz, professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study and one of the world’s leading anthropologists; Edward N. Lorenz, professor emeritus of meteorology at MIT and founder of the new science of chaos theory; Sonia Picado, a parliamentarian in the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica and former president of the National Liberation Party; and Peter Ralston, a widely published and honored photographer and executive vice president of Maine’s Island Institute.

The public is invited to commencement, which begins at 10 a.m. on May 25 on the lawn of Miller Library. For more information on commencement visit the Colby commencement Web Site at

Note: A digital photo of Helen Vendler can be obtained from Alicia MacLeay ( or 207-872-3220) or by clicking on the image above to get a high resolution image to download.