Daryl Baldwin, director of Miami University’s Myaamia Center and 2016 MacArthur fellow, will give the commencement address for Miami’s 2017 graduating class. Baldwin was chosen by a committee of students, faculty and staff members from Miami’s Oxford and regional campuses.
The university’s president, Greg Crawford, announced their selection while in Miami, Okla., where he was participating in the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma’s annual Winter Gathering and Stomp Dance. Crawford shared the news with Baldwin’s family and fellow tribal members at the home of Douglas Lankford, chief of the Miami Tribe, in Miami.
“I was so pleased that we could have such an accomplished person who is one of our own to speak to the students,” Crawford said. “I just think his wisdom is going to make for a great commencement speech, and the tribe was so happy.”
Baldwin was awarded the MacArthur Foundation’s “genius” grant — an annual award given to individuals to help them pursue artistic, intellectual and professional visions — for his work in the preservation and revitalization of the Myaamia language and culture. Baldwin was the first individual at Miami to receive the award and the first Ohioan since 2004.
Baldwin, who is a citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, first came to Miami University in 2001 to lead the Myaamia Project, now the Myaamia Center. A linguist and cultural preservationist, Baldwin is also an adjunct assistant professor of educational leadership at Miami.
The center has partnered with the National Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages to revitalize the language of the tribe. A portion of those efforts has included offering classes for students who are Miami Tribe citizens where they can learn the language and cultural traditions of their ancestors.
Miami’s All University Commencement ceremony will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 13 at Yager Stadium.