Renowned poet Nikky Finney will deliver a message on the power of education during the annual Residential College at West Ambler Johnston “Aims of Education” address on Aug. 31.

Students and other members of the Virginia Tech community can watch Finney’s address virtually at 4 p.m. by registering in advance.

“Our world is being confronted on so many fronts by forces that are trying to reshape our humanity. I am humbled and excited to be in conversation with the campus and community at Virginia Tech,” said Finney. “The bright exchange of ideas and information that we human beings engage and participate in, also known as higher education, is one of the most precious human relationships we can build together. To be educated really means to lead out and therefore the great conversation that can still happen, human being to human being, is still, even in this highly advanced technical era, the greatest, most precious blackboard we have.”

Finney, a celebrated writer and educator, is a National Book Award winner for “Head Off & Split.” Additional recognition for her work includes a PEN America Open Book Award and a Benjamin Franklin Award for Poetry.

Finney co-founded Affrilachian Poets, a group of Black poets based in Appalachia. She serves as the John H. Bennett, Jr., Chair in Creative Writing and Southern Letters at the University of South Carolina.

“It is a wonderful opportunity to kick off the year with Nikky Finney,” said Danna Agmon, faculty principal of the Residential College at West Ambler Johnston and an associate professor in the Department of History. “The ‘Aims of Education’ address always sets the tone for a year of exploration and expansion in our community. I’m especially excited that this year’s address will take the format of a conversation between Finney and Gena Chandler-Smith, a scholar of poetry in the Virginia Tech Department of  English; it promises to be an incredible conversation.”

The Residential College at West Ambler Johnston is a living-learning community of more than 850 students of all disciplines and academic years.

The “Aims of Education” address, which has kicked off each academic year since 2011, is open to the entire Virginia Tech community.

Written by Andrew Adkins