Author Patti Digh ’82 to Give May 5 Commencement Address
Author and alumna Patti Digh ’82 will be the invited speaker at Guilford College’s commencement exercises on Saturday, May 5, 2012, at 9:30 a.m. on the King Hall Lawn.
The ceremony will include students who completed degree requirements during the spring 2012, summer 2011 and fall 2011 semesters.
Digh will be joined in the commencement ceremony by two graduating seniors and President Kent Chabotar, who will give his 10th charge to the graduating class. The selection of the invited speaker is based on a consensus recommendation to the president by the faculty, staff and student members of the Convocation and Celebrations Committee. The student speakers will be selected by graduating seniors in the spring semester.
A best-selling author, Digh is also an award-winning blogger, sought-after speaker and co-founder of the Circle Project, a consulting and training firm that partners with organizations and the people in them to help them work more effectively and authentically together.
Her recent books include What I Wish For You, Creative Is a Verb, Life Is a Verb and Four-Word Self-Help. A fifth book, The Geography of Loss, will be published this year. She lives in Asheville with her husband and their two daughters.
A 1982 graduate of Guilford College, she got her M.A. in English and art history from the University of Virginia in 1985. Digh designed diversity and leadership initiatives and training for clients around the world for two decades, focusing on intercultural and global business issues. Her first book, Global Literacies: Lessons on Business Leadership and National Cultures was named a “Best Business Book for 2000” by Fortune Magazine. Her second book was The Global Diversity Desk Reference.
Lee Johnson, emeritus professor of English and former department head, remembers Digh’s writing talent from her college days with this story: “Patti was a great writer, a naturally gifted writer. She was in one of my first modern novels courses at Guilford in 1980. She dropped out of Guilford for a semester to go to UNCG. She called me in December to ask me to speak to her literature professor there. He had flunked her on a final exam as he said it was impossible for someone to write that well on an exam: implication was somehow she had cheated. plagiarized, who knows? I called him and told him that it was perfectly possible for someone to write an exam essay like that if the writer were Patti Digh.”
She was formerly the vice president of international and diversity programs for the Society for Human Resource Management, the world’s largest association of human resources professionals with over 250,000 members worldwide. While there, she created the Institute for International HR, the award-winning SHRM Diversity Initiative, Diversity Train the Trainer Certificate Program, National Diversity Conference, and the diversity newsletter, MOSAICS. She has published over 100 articles on diversity and intercultural issues, having traveled and worked in over 60 countries.