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Rita Dove, U.S. Poet Laureate, gave her final reading Oct. 11 as the nation's official poet in the Mainstage Theater of the UB Center for the Arts. The first of four speakers to appear in the university's 1995-96 Distinguished Speakers Series, Dove is the Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia, where she teaches creative writing and poetry. She has authored four poetry collections and a play.

Dove became the first African-American, as well as the youngest person, to serve as U.S. Poet Laureate when she was appointed by President Clinton in 1993. Former UB professor Robert Hass has since assumed the post. Dove's many honors include the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

David Gergen says he has "worked for more presidents than Billy Graham has prayed with-with about equal success." Gergen, past advisor to four presidents and current editor-at-large for U.S. News & World Report, discussed the political fortunes of President Clinton and his Republican challengers before a large audience in the Mainstage Theater at the Center for the Arts on Nov. 1.

Gergen, the second speaker in the Distinguished Speakers Series, was speechwriter to President Richard Nixon, counselor to President Gerald Ford and communications director to President Ronald Reagan. As editor-at-large for U.S. News & World Report and a commentator on PBS's MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour, Gergen had been out of government for nine years-permanently, he thought-when longtime friend Bill Clinton pressed him back into service as Counselor to the President from June 1993 to December 1994.

Richard W. Riley, U.S. Secretary of Education, was on campus Nov. 13 to observe firsthand how the university has implemented the federal direct student-loan program and to participate in a roundtable discussion on it.

About 1,400 institutions nationwide participate in the program that provides federal student loan funds directly to universities and colleges, eliminating the role played by banks. Instituted in 1994 by the U.S. Department of Education on a pilot basis at 104 colleges, including Brockport State College, the program was expanded this year. UB joined in June.

Funding for the direct lending program could be in jeopardy as the Senate and the House of Representatives fight to balance the federal budget over the next seven years, Riley told participants in a South Campus forum.