Maya Angelou: Poet Laureate also first UH Medal of Distinction winner
On June 21, 1994 poet Maya Angelou hosted An Evening with Maya Angelou for a sold out crowd at Andrews Amphitheatre on the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa campus.
From the UH Mālamalama magazine coverage of her appearance:
Angelou spoke of the importance of romantic love and self love, quoting other poets—both famous and obscure—as often as she did her own work. “You need to know African-American poetry, poetry on love, you need to know it,” she told an audience whose enthusiasm was undaunted by rain. “Words are music.”
At the end of her program, she was presented the first ever Medal of Distinction by UH Regents Momi Cazimero and Ruth M. Ono and UH President Kenneth P. Mortimer.
The medal was established to honor individuals of national and international stature for lifetime accomplishments, a record of distinguished service to the community at large and/or outstanding scholarly achievements.
Said President Mortimer, “I can think of no better way for the University of Hawaiʻi and the Board of Regents to recognize your life’s work as one of the great voices of contemporary literature and as a remarkable Renaissance woman.”
Maya Angelou accepted the award with grace, naturally.
Maya Angelou passed away on May 28, 2014. She is remembered fondly by the UH community.