Donovan Livingston’s spoken-verse commencement speech “one of the most powerful, heartfelt student speeches you will ever hear!”
In 2016, Donovan Livingston delivered a convocation speech to the Harvard Graduate School of Education that went viral and received national acclaim. His spoken word address was at once a pointed examination of the American education system and an inspirational call for reform. A passionate speaker, Livingston encourages students, educators, and communities to realize their potential to change the shape of education, and to “lift off.”
Donovan Livingston is an award-winning educator, spoken word poet, and public speaker. In 2016, his Harvard Graduate School of Education convocation address “Lift Off” went viral, reaching over thirteen million views and prompting Hillary Clinton to praise, “It’s young graduates like [Livingston] who make it clear that America’s best days are still ahead.” Since his pivotal speech, Livingston has been featured on CNN, NPR, BBC, Good Morning America, and in news outlets across Europe, Australia, India, and South Africa. His convocation address was published as a book by Spiegel & Grau in 2017.
A believer in the enormous opportunities that education provides, Livingston inspires students, educators, and communities with his conviction that every child has the right to “lift off” and achieve their dreams. Drawing on personal experiences as well as scholarship, Livingston examines the role of culture, hip hop and spoken word poetry in student experiences in higher and postsecondary education. An impassioned and dynamic speaker, he incorporates creative elements into his lectures such as spoken word poetry and audience collaboration.
Livingston has earned master’s degrees from Columbia University and Harvard University, and is now a Ph.D. candidate at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro. He lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with his wife Lauren.