‘Genius Award’ Winner to Speak at UM Commencement

April 08, 2019

Lisa Parks (Photo by Erin Valkner)MISSOULA – The 2019 Spring Commencement ceremonies at the University of Montana on Saturday, May 4, will feature remarks from Dr. Lisa Parks, a UM alumna and 2018 MacArthur Fellow.

Parks is a professor of Comparative Media Studies and director of the Global Media Technologies and Cultures Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her work explores the global reach of information technology infrastructure and the cultural, political and humanitarian implications of the flow of information.

Her research seeks to understand how media systems can inform and assist citizens, scholars and policymakers in the U.S. and abroad in advancing campaigns for technological literacy, creative expression, social justice and human rights. Parks has collaborated with computer scientists, geographers, journalists, and artists, and has given lectures in more than 25 countries.

“I am very honored to have been selected as the Commencement speaker this year,” said Parks. “I look forward to returning to my alma mater to celebrate this year’s graduates.”

The MacArthur Fellowship, informally known as the “Genius Grant,” is a no-strings-attached award given to talented and creative individuals who have shown “extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction,” according to the MacArthur Foundation. The MacArthur Fellows Program is intended to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual and professional inclinations.

“We are delighted to have such an esteemed University of Montana graduate and respected thinker as our speaker this year,” UM President Seth Bodnar said. “Dr. Parks is a leader in her field, an inspired teacher and scholar who works across disciplines, and an example of the strength of a UM education.”

Parks will speak at both ceremonies in the Adams Center. The 9 a.m. ceremony will include all departments and programs within the College of Humanities and Sciences, Missoula College, the School of Journalism, and the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

The 2 p.m. ceremony will include all departments and programs within the College of Business, the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences, the College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences, and the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, and the Master of Public Administration program.

Each ceremony will run about two hours and will feature individual recognition of every student as they cross the stage, as well as the hooding of doctoral students by their advisers. Graduates will have their names read, have their images projected on the screen at the Adams Center and then shake hands with President Bodnar and their respective deans.

In addition, most programs and departments are holding individual celebrations for their students. The full list can be found at http://bit.ly/2TV0uY2.

Additional information about Spring Commencement can be found at http://bit.ly/2BVUVT6 or by calling Rebecca Power in the UM Registrar’s Office at 406-243-6318.

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Contact: Paula Short, director of communications, UM Office of the President, 406-243-2311, paula.short@mso.umt.edu.