POST, TINA_Author Photo

Wells College announces Tina Post ’99 as 2024 Commencement Speaker

Post graduated from Wells with a Bachelor of Arts in English literature.
March 25, 2024

Wells College alum Tina Post '99 will be the Commencement Speaker this May.

After graduating from Wells, Post received her Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and literary arts from the University of Alaska-Anchorage and completed her doctorate in African American studies and American studies from Yale University. Post has been an associate professor at the University of Chicago in the Department of English Literature and Language teaching multiple courses in creative writing, performance, theater, and culture since 2018.

In addition to her experience in higher education, Post is a published author. She recently won last year’s Best Book Prize from ASAP: The Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present for her new book “Deadpan: The Aesthetics of Black Inexpression,” a book that “tracks instances and meanings of deadpan — a vaudeville term meaning ‘dead face’ — across literature, theater, visual and performance art, and the performance of self in everyday life,” and argues that “inexpression is a gesture that acquires distinctive meanings in concert with Blackness.” Post’s book also just won the National Book Critic Circle Award for Criticism.

Post is originally from the Finger Lakes region and said she has continually visited Wells and Aurora since she graduated. She has been a Visiting Writer for the college’s Visiting Writers Series for three different years, and she was a lecturer for the college’s creative nonfiction courses in the English Department for an academic year.

“Wells remains meaningful to me,” Post said. “I was close with my professors there. They knew me well. They saw me well. I come back all the time because I have family in the area. It’s such an honor to be invited.”

Commencement marks the graduation of Wells College students who have completed their degrees. Traditionally, the Commencement Speaker and the Student Speaker give speeches before the ceremony, in addition to opening remarks from and awards given by the President, Board of Trustees, Cabinet, and others, before the graduates cross the stage. Last year’s Commencement honored the class of 2023 in front of Macmillan Hall. Post said she hopes to ensure the Wells graduates this year feel at ease about their next steps with her commencement address.

“Commencement is celebratory, but it’s also a time of real pressure for students,” Post said. “The decisions made feel really big. The next thing feels momentous. And it is, but it's still OK to make mistakes. It's still OK to change your mind. No one has to have it all figured out. I certainly didn't. It's about enjoying, going forth, exploring, being brave, and messing up, and it’s all still OK.”

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About Wells College

The mission of Wells College is to educate students to think critically, reason wisely, and act humanely as they cultivate meaningful lives. Through Wells’ academic program, residential atmosphere, and community activities, students learn and practice the ideals of the liberal arts. The Wells experience prepares students to appreciate complexity and difference, to embrace new ways of knowing, to be creative, and to respond ethically to the interdependent worlds to which they belong. Committed to excellence in all areas of its reach, Wells College equips students for lifelong learning and for sharing the privileges of education with others.

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