To acknowledge the one-year anniversary of his death, Fresno State hosted a community celebration for the late U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine on Feb. 20, 2016. Levine, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Professor Emeritus of English at Fresno State, passed away Feb. 14, 2015. He was 87.
Friends, colleagues, and former students of Levine came together in the Fresno State Concert Hall to share their remarks. Speakers included: C. G. Hanzlicek, Peter Everwine, Christopher Buckley, Glover Davis, Kathy Fagan, Corrinne Clegg Hales, David Kader, Dixie Salazar, Jon Veinberg, Liza Wieland, M. L. Williams, and Benjamin Boone. University dignitaries who spoke included: Lynnette Zelezny, provost; Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, current dean of the College of Arts and Humanities; and Vida Samiian, former dean of the College of Arts and Humanities.
At the event, the University unveiled plans for the Philip Levine Reading Room inside the Henry Madden Library. His family has generously donated his extensive personal library collection of more than 2,000 books to Fresno State. Construction is scheduled to begin this fall. (Contribute to the project.)
Levine and fellow poets and professors Hanzlicek and Everwine established the Creative Writing Program at Fresno State. After teaching at Fresno State from 1958 to 1992, Levine remained connected to the department for the rest of his life, visiting classes, attending and giving readings, and teaching mini-courses.
The above video recording was made by freelance videographer Michael Barakat, with sound engineering by Jose ElaGarza of the Fresno State Music Department. Closed captioning was produced by Creative Writing Program staff Jefferson Beavers, graduate assistant Jessica Turney, and undergraduate assistants Mayra Cano, Naomi Carrillo, and Makenna Huffman.