Richard Blanco

2016 Distinguished Alumnus

College: College of Arts, Sciences & Education, School of Environment, Arts & Society

Degree: '91, MFA '97

Richard Blanco was named the fifth presidential Inaugural Poet in U.S. history, joining the ranks of luminary poets Robert Frost and Maya Angelou. The youngest, first Latino, immigrant and gay person to serve in such a role, Blanco read “One Today,” an original poem he wrote for the occasion, at Obama’s inauguration ceremony in January 2013. Born in Spain to Cuban exile parents, Richard was raised in Miami. He holds civil engineering (’91) and creative writing (’97) degrees from FIU and leads successful careers in both fields. Blanco’s many publications include three collections of poetry, two memoirs and a children’s book. His honors include the Starrett Poetry Prize, the PEN American Center Beyond Margins Award, the Paterson Poetry Prize, a Lambda Literary Award and two Maine Literary Awards. The Richard Blanco Fellowship in Creative Writing was recently established at FIU in his honor to foster creative writing fellows in pursuit of their own paths in their respective professional fields.