A perennial Nobel favorite, UCI Distinguished Professor Ngugi wa Thiong’o was a visiting professor of English and comparative literature at Yale from 1989 to 1992.

Writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Distinguished Professor of comparative literature and English at UCI and perennial Nobel candidate, recently received an honorary degree from Yale University in recognition of his distinctive achievements in the humanities. Yale President Peter Salovey said, “Brave wordsmith, for breaking down barriers, for showing us the potential of literature to incite change and promote justice, for helping us decolonize our minds and open them to new ideas, we are privileged to award you this degree of Doctor of Letters.” Ngugi, a visiting professor of English and comparative literature at Yale from 1989 to 1992, is a prolific author of novels, plays and essays, many skewering the harsh sociopolitical conditions of his homeland, Kenya. “The Yale that I came to love held a key to knowledge, but knowledge for which we still had to strive,” Ngugi said during his speech at the Ivy League school’s 316th commencement on May 22. “It was so for me. It is so for the present company. And it is so for the hundreds who are graduating this week, and for those who will follow them in years to come. This key to knowledge is also key to dreams.” Georges Van Den Abbeele, dean of the UCI School of Humanities, said: “We never cease to be proud of Ngugi, whose masterful works remind us of the indomitable power of the human spirit. We congratulate him on receiving an honorary degree from Yale, a testament to his continuous and meaningful impact abroad and here in the U.S.”