Iranian-American writer, human rights advocate is Salve Regina commencement speaker
NEWPORT — Azar Nafisi, author of the national bestseller “Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books,” will deliver the commencement address to Salve Regina University’s Class of 2023 on May 21.
The private Catholic university announced Nafisi’s selection as speaker the day after Bryant University announced that Gov. Dan McKee would serve as this year’s commencement speaker.
Salve will award honorary degrees to Nafisi as well as Dr. M. Therese Antone, R.S.M., Salve Regina chancellor who served as the university’s sixth president from 1994-2009, and to Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, United States Marine Corps (retired). The commencement ceremony begins at 10 a.m. in a tent on the seaside lawn of McAuley Hall.
Born and raised in Iran, Nafisi’s book recounts her experiences as an English professor working with a group of students at the University of Tehran. She was dismissed from that role in 1981 for refusing to cover her hair.
Nafisi emigrated to the United States in 1997, where she has continued to teach and write. Her work weaves together her love of literature and the link between the liberal arts, free thinking and free societies. She is also the author of “That Other World: Nabokov and the Puzzle of Exile,” “The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books,” and “Things I’ve Been Silent About,” a memoir about her mother.