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Professor and sci-fi writer Eric Rabkin is DSU commencement speaker

November 29, 2016

The Dakota State University 2016 Fall Commencement speaker is no stranger to speaking in front of large university groups.

Dr. Eric Rabkin spent his career as a professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, culminating his career there as Professor Emeritus of English Language and Literature, and Professor Emeritus of Art and Design. His most current position has been associate provost at New York’s Stony Brook University.

As a teacher, Rabkin was known for his large, popular lecture courses on science fiction and fantasy, and for his many teaching innovations, including offering the world's first writing-intensive MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) through the University of Michigan and Coursera in 2012.

He is a prolific writer, having authored one-hundred-seventy publications, including thirty-four books he wrote, co-wrote, edited, or co-edited on the topics of science fiction or writing.

Rabkin has lectured widely to both general and academic audiences, on fantasy, science fiction, fairy tales, graphic narrative, humor, American literature, literary theory, culture studies, pedagogy, composition, administration, and information technology.

Throughout his career he has won awards including the Golden Apple Award, given annually by University of Michigan students to an outstanding teacher. In 2010, he received the Science Fiction Research Association's Pilgrim Award for lifetime achievement in science fiction scholarship.

Rabkin will speak at the Dec. 10 ceremony, which begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Dakota State University Fieldhouse. The 190 graduates listed in the program will be receiving associate degrees, undergraduate certificates, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees. 

Students participating in the commencement ceremony include Sid Moorhead, student senate president, who will give the student welcome. Elementary education student Evan Steemken will speak on behalf of the graduates.

Special student musical performances include John Townsend and Justin Jungemann singing the national anthem, and DSU Voices members Drew Peterson and Greg Holden performing “Home,” by Phillip Phillips. DSU Voices will also lead the audience in singing “Alma Mater.”

Vinicius Freitas and Andrew Kramer are the student marshalls.

Community members and faculty are also taking part. Members of the Madison Police and Lake County Sheriff’s Departments will present the flags; Dr. Lynette Molstad Gorder, professor in the College of Business and Information Systems, will be the mace bearer.

Jacinda Cerwinske, a class of 2013 graduate and member of the DSU Alumni Association, will give the alumni induction.