New York Times bestselling author Samira Ahmed, AB’93, MAT’93, has been named the invited speaker for the University of Chicago's Class Day ceremony on Friday, June 3. The celebration kicks off Convocation weekend and will amplify the accomplishments of graduating students in the College, while underscoring the importance of their resilience during times of uncertainty.
Ahmed is the author of Love, Hate & Other Filters; Internment; Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know; Hollow Fires, and the Amira & Hamza series, as well as a Ms. Marvel comic book mini-series. Her poetry, essays and short stories have appeared in numerous publications, and she is the co-editor of the forthcoming anthology, Magic Has No Borders. Ahmed also has taught high school English in Chicago and New York City, worked in education nonprofits and served on political campaigns.
“It’s an incredible honor to be asked to return to the University of Chicago as the Class Day speaker and celebrate the achievements of the Class of 2022,” Ahmed said. “My experience in the College was truly transformative: It was there that I learned the importance of not merely developing a passionate mind, but also a curious one. Where I understood the power of cultivating a growth mindset, the cornerstone of being a lifelong learner. And, despite what the T-shirt says, I had a lot of fun as an undergrad.”
During her time in the College, Ahmed completed her bachelor’s degree in English with a joint MAT English degree while also teaching at Oak Park River Forest High School and doing research for her master’s thesis. Outside of class, Ahmed was a member of the South Asian Students Association, Muslim Students Association and part of her dorm council.
“Samira’s writing pushes the limits of traditional representation in literature, joining careful research with fresh voices and characters,” said John W. Boyer, dean of the College. “As a New York Times bestselling author, Samira has inspired the imagination of readers of all ages. Our graduating College students will benefit from her insights as they prepare to make their own contributions to our public life.”
Ahmed joins a list of distinguished alumni who have served as Class Day speakers, including U.S. Rep. Andy Kim, AB’04; Rebecca Jarvis, AB’03, award-winning journalist and podcast host; Valerie Jarrett, former senior adviser to President Obama; David Brooks, AB’83, columnist for the New York Times; and Otis W. Brawley, SB’81, distinguished cancer researcher.
This year’s Class Day celebration is scheduled take place at 2 p.m. on the Main Quadrangles.
The University is currently planning to hold 2022 Convocation events in person. Should public health and safety conditions related to COVID-19 require alternative planning, the University will inform the community as promptly as possible. Please continue to check the Go Forward website for the most up-to-date safety information and health protocols.
—This story was first published on the College website.