Author to address graduates
Saint Mary's Editor
Traveling from New York to Saint Mary's Saturday afternoon will seem like second nature to Adriana Trigiani. However, instead of returning to the campus for a visit or book signing, the author, screenwriter and director will speak to hundreds of graduating seniors, a position she faced not long ago herself.
Trigiani, a 1981 alumna of the College, was selected as the 2003 commencement speaker in late March based on the request of students.
While many students were unaware of Trigiani's nomination until after her appointment, seniors said they look forward to the insight she would provide as an alumna.
"Having a Saint Mary's grad send us forth into the world is more touching than having someone who isn't as close to us as she is," senior Emily Storer said. "Her relationship with the school and her experience can really put a better perspective on commencement than having someone else as a speaker."
The Saint Mary's graduate was a featured author at Notre Dame's 2002 Sophomore Literary Festival, where students from both campuses had the chance to meet Trigiani and become acquainted with her work.
Max Westler, English department chair and Trigiani's former professor, said he and Trigiani maintain the strong friendship they developed over 20 years ago. Westler is extremely optimistic in Trigiani's ability to deliver a powerful message to the graduating class of 2003.
"She'll have something to say to this graduating class that they're going to want to hear," he said. "She's absolutely thrilled to be coming."
Trigiani's charismatic personality and personal background with Saint Mary's and Notre Dame are reflected in her novels "Big Stone Gap," "Big Cherry Holler" and "Milk Glass Moon," making them popular among members of both communities.
She visited the Saint Mary's campus for a book signing in 2000 after the publication of "Big Stone Gap," which will soon become a major motion picture, both written and directed by the author.
In addition to her work as a writer, Trigiani's credentials include work as a television writer and producer, playwright, comedian and documentary filmmaker. She has been involved with such television shows as "A Different World," "The Cosby Show," and "Good Sports."
Additionally, she served as executive producer and head writer for the film show "City Kids" and comedy special "Growing Up Funny," which earned an Emmy nomination for actress Lily Tomlin and Lifetime Television.
Trigiani wrote, produced and directed "Queens of the Bigtime" in 1996, a documentary film about her family. The film won the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 1996 Hamptons International Film Festival and at the 1997 Palm Springs International Film Festival.
All News Stories for Friday, July 11, 2003