Grammy Award winner Janis Ian will deliver the main address, titled “Embracing Failure,” at the 2012 Warren Wilson College Commencement May 12. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. on the lawn of Sunderland Residence Hall, near the North Entrance to campus. The college currently has 224 degree candidates, surpassing the record of 201 in 2010.
Best known as a songwriter/singer, Ian also is a magazine columnist and science fiction author. Her autobiography, “Society’s Child,” received much acclaim upon publication in 2008. She has received several Grammy Award nominations and in 1975 won “Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female” for her huge hit record “At Seventeen.” On Oct. 11, 1975, Ian and Billy Preston were the first musical guests on the debut of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”
Ian and Warren Wilson College have forged strong ties in recent years. In 2010 The Pearl Foundation, founded by Ian and named in honor of her late mother, established The Pearl Foundation Scholarship at Warren Wilson. Janis Ian and her partner, Patricia Snyder, oversee the foundation. This past summer, Ian was one of several Grammy Award winners who taught and performed at The Swannanoa Gathering during its 20th anniversary season.
Irwin Belk of Charlotte and Billy Edd Wheeler of Swannanoa will receive the Doctor of Humane Letters from the college during the commencement ceremony. They are the first recipients of honorary degrees from Warren Wilson.
More information, including a complete schedule, on the 2012 Commencement can be found here.