Last Wednesday, the Chair of the Committee on Public Occasions, Phillip Swan, informed students they can now nominate speakers for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 Convocation Series. This level of foresight is encouraged and applauded, as students have often complained about the selection of Convocation speakers. All students were encouraged to submit, and in that spirit, we at The Lawrentian will be nominating whom we believe would be an excellent Convocation or Commencement speaker: the one-time Wisconsin resident Neil Gaiman.
The winner of a true smorgasbord of literary awards, champion of free speech and author of over 20 books, Neil Gaiman utterly defies literary expectations, flipping genres and breaking rules in brilliant and unexpected ways. While calling him a novelist, screenwriter, essayist or graphic novelist would be true, these titles fail to encompass his artistic contributions, which have been as “liberal artsy” in their exploration of writing as any of us has been in our studies.
He has written children’s stories such as “Coraline;” created the graphic novel “Sandman;” published dozens of short stories and written award-winning books such as “American Gods,” “Neverwhere” and “The Graveyard Book.” He has worked with Terry Pratchett, written for “Doctor Who” and had his work adapted into radio shows. In short, Neil Gaiman is a writer who scoffs at literary limits and compartmentalization, all the while taking his skills in writing to anything that interests him.
His wide array of interests is the very essence of the liberal arts. He lives the model of education that Lawrence University inspires. If you haven’t read anything by him, this is your lucky day; treat yourself to anything by Neil Gaiman. We’re sure he’s written something you’ll love.
If you agree with The Lawrentian’s suggestion, let the university know by emailing Professor Swan and nominating Neil Gaiman for Commencement or Convocation speaker. If you don’t, email your own suggestion. If you don’t have an opinion, please take our word for it and suggest Neil Gaiman; he really is that fantastic.