Noted author to give winter commencement address at university Poet, essayist and author Linda Hasselstrom will address the winter commencement exercises at The University of South Dakota on Dec. 13.
Her address, titled "Getting a Life" will be the highlight of ceremonies scheduled for 10 a.m. at the DakotaDome in Vermillion. Approximately 323 students are candidates for degrees that will be conferred by President James W. Abbott and Regent James O. Hansen.
Hasselstrom was born in 1943 in Texas, moved to South Dakota in 1947, and considers herself a Dakotan. She graduated from The University of South Dakota, and taught in Columbia, MO, where she received an M.A. in American Literature from the University of Missouri.
After�her return to South Dakota in 1971, she worked on the family ranch,�founded a magazine, and conducted workshops in writing and publishing. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, was named to the�South Dakota Hall of Fame, and received the Governor's Award for Distinction in Creative Achievement.
She has written and published 11 books, acted as editor of several more, and her work has been published in collections and periodicals. She now lives in Cheyenne, WY, and conducts writing retreats for women at her ranch home and retreat, Windbreak House. In 2001, with the Great Plains Native Plant Society, she helped establish�the Claude A. Barr Memorial Great Plains Garden.
"I consider myself a perpetual student of American Western history, culture and ecology," said Hasselstrom. "I read constantly. I write to learn and for the sheer enjoyment of following words wherever they lead, whether in poetry or nonfiction. I consider my primary responsibility to be working to preserve the territory I love, including not only the land but its inhabitants, human and otherwise, and their stories. My writing is my primary labor and my own stories are part of the chronicles I record."