2019 Commencement Speaker: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaks in front of a blue curtain
Bestselling author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the 2019 Georgetown College commencement speaker. (Photo property of Howard County Library System)

May 14, 2019 — Critically acclaimed author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie will serve as speaker and honorary degree recipient for the 2019 Georgetown College Commencement ceremonies on May 18.

Adichie is the author of multiple notable works of fiction and nonfiction, including New York Times bestselling novels Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun, and the social critique We Should All Be Feminists.

"We are so proud to have Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie join us for the 2019 College Commencement,” said Georgetown College Dean Chris Celenza. “Her fiction and non-fiction works have spoken to countless people about the value, the power, and the meaningfulness of differences. In doing so, she has taught us all about the full dimensions of humanity."

Born in Nigeria, Adichie emigrated to the United States to pursue her college education. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Connecticut State University and master’s degrees from both Johns Hopkins University and Yale University.

Adichie’s published work deals with themes of racial identity, feminism, colonialism, and migration. Writing in The New York Times Sunday Review, book critic Mike Peed calls Adichie’s Americanah “witheringly trenchant and hugely empathetic, both worldly and geographically precise, a novel that holds the discomfiting realities of our times fearlessly before us.” A reading of her TEDx speech We Should All Be Feminists was sampled in the 2013 Beyonce single “***Flawless.” She later developed the speech into a bestselling book-length essay.

Adichie has won numerous awards for her writing, including a MacArthur Genius Grant in 2008. She has held fellowships at Princeton University and Harvard University and appeared in the 2015 Time 100 Most Influential People list.

She holds doctor of humane letters, honoris causa degrees from Johns Hopkins, Haverford College, the University of Edinburgh, and Amherst College, after speaking at the commencement ceremony for each. This year, she will receive the same from Georgetown College.