Acclaimed bestselling author and Lockport native Joyce Carol Oates will deliver the keynote address at the Niagara County Community College commencement ceremony Saturday, May 16, at the Seneca Niagara Events Center, NCCC President James P. Klyczek announced.
"We are honored that Joyce Carol Oates, one of the most gifted and highly regarded writers of our time, has agreed to deliver this year's commencement address," Klyczek said. "I look forward to the insightful message she will share with the Class of 2015 as they prepare to make their mark on the world."
Oates was born in Lockport June 16, 1938, and grew up on a farm where she developed a love for literature and writing. Her "working-class" upbringing is affectionately recalled in much of her fiction. She attended Syracuse University on a scholarship and graduated valedictorian in 1960. She earned an M.A. in English at the University of Wisconsin in 1961. Oates began teaching at the University of Detroit and, by the end of the decade, had moved on to work at the University of Windsor in Canada. Her first published book was the 1963 story collection "By the North Gate," followed by her debut novel "With Shuddering Fall" in 1964.
Oates is the author of more than 50 novels, including the national bestsellers "We Were the Mulvaneys" and "Blonde" (a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize), and the New York Times bestsellers "The Falls" (winner of the 2005 Prix Femina Etranger) and "The Gravedigger's Daughter."
Her many literary awards include the National Book Award, the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, the O. Henry Prize for continued achievement in the short story, and the Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement. She received the Common Wealth Award for Distinguished Service in Literature in 2003, the Chicago Tribune Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, and the National Humanities Medal in 2010. Oates has been nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature three times. Most recently, she has received the 2012 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection for "Black Dahlia and White Rose," the 2013 New York Times Notable Books of the Year for "The Accursed" and the 2014 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award.
Her most recent published works include "Carthage," "Lovely, Dark, Deep" and "The Sacrifice," a novel set to be released later this month. Oates retired from full-time teaching last year after 36 years at Princeton University. She is teaching at Stanford University this semester and has promised to offer one course at Princeton each fall for the foreseeable future.
NCCC is one of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York, the largest public university system in the country. The college provides 70 certificate and degree programs to more than 7,000 students. It is funded by the Niagara County Legislature, the State University of New York and student tuition.
The 51st commencement ceremony is slated to begin at 10 a.m. It is open to graduating students and their invited guests.