Amanda Gorman is a young American poet and activist. She was named the first National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017, but Gorman reached the peak of her fame when she read her poem “The Hill We Climb” at President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ January 20, 2021 Inauguration ceremony.
Gorman is the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history. She graduated cum laude in Sociology from Harvard University. Her poetry focuses on issues of oppression, feminism, race, and marginalization, as well as the African diaspora.
In an appalling move for the university, Gorman was assigned a chair as Associate Professor of Literature at the Lewis College of Science and Letters. Gorman will start teaching at Illinois Tech from fall 2021. The event followed Illinois Tech's recognition as the tech school with the best upper level humanities classes in the U.S.
President Alan Cramb is proud and wishes for all eligible students to attend one of the three classes Gorman will teach this fall: “Poetry in the 21st century” (LIT 301), “Black identities in Poetry”(LIT 339) and “Writing is Power” (LIT 420).
Christine Himes, dean of the Lewis College of Science and Letters, expressed her absolute gratitude to the president and the administration, though she was not so surprised: “[Illinois Tech] has done an excellent job at taking care of this department despite it being a tech school. The department has never been an afterthought or forgotten about by most students who just take its classes for mandatory credits. I am proud of the work we’ve done and of our continuous commitment to bettering the student experience.”
Students are going crazy on social media and Illinois Tech has been trending on Twitter, whilst gaining more than one million followers on Instagram. But Gorman was not an easy catch. The idea to reach out to her was brought to the attention of the administration thanks to the joint efforts of the Student Government Association's sitting vice presidents of communications and academic affairs, as well as their respective committees, after several students suggested a diversification of faculty and more female representation. Gorman’s character and remarkable successes will help Illinois Tech climb the “Best University in the US” charts this upcoming academic year. Educational consultants have figured this will launch Illinois Tech from #124 to #24 on the U.S. News college rankings, from tied with DePaul University to tied with the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and the University of Southern California. However, Gorman is much more than that: she’s the fresh air this university needed. Her presence on campus is likely to favor the convergence of many other influential figures and encourage a diverse range of students seek admission at Illinois Tech.
***This article wants to address a fact: as of Fall 2021 there is no Literature class, very few 300+ level Humanities, and little to choose from in the areas of Communications and Philosophy. Is this fair? Everyone has at least two Humanities classes in their core curriculum requirements, plus there is people actually majoring in Humanities, and others majoring in STEM fields with specializations in Literature or other Humanities. We all know this is a tech school, but we’re also here***