Vowell headshot

Author Sarah Vowell has been chosen as Montana State University’s fall convocation speaker and her unique take on the American Revolution, “Lafayette in the Somewhat United States,” chosen as the book all incoming freshmen will be asked to read this summer.

Provost Bob Mokwa announced the choice of Vowell, a Bozeman High and 1993 MSU graduate, at last week’s spring convocation ceremony, held to honor 22 faculty and staff members who won major awards.

Vowell is a New York Times bestselling author of seven books on American history and culture. She gained a national voice with her social commentaries on public radio’s “This American Life” from 1996 to 2008.

She has written opinion columns for the New York Times, including one last year celebrating MSU as a land-grant college on its 125th anniversary.

MSU President Waded Cruzado said she believes Vowell’s personal story will inspire the incoming freshman class as well as members of the MSU and Bozeman community at the fall convocation on Aug. 27.

“Sara Vowell’s story gives voice to what happens when talent and curiosity meet access to a land-grant education,” Cruzado said. “Montana State is hugely proud of her many accomplishments, and we are overjoyed to have her return to speak to our freshmen students.”

Vowell, a frequent guest on late-night comedy shows, is recognized for her wit and social observations. She was the voice of teenage superhero Violet Parr in the 2004 film “The Incredibles” and 2018 sequel “Incredibles 2.”

She has been a columnist for Salon.com, Time, San Francisco Weekly, GQ and Spin, among others. Vowell was the president of the board of 826NYC, a nonprofit tutoring and writing center for students aged 6 to 18 in Brooklyn. She is still a member of its advisory board, along with its sister organization in Los Angeles, 826LA.

While MSU’s convocation is free, members of the public must reserve tickets. Tickets will be available at the beginning of June at the Bobcat Ticket Office and all Ticketswest outlets.

MSU’s Convocation is the formal welcome of the incoming class, where the university focuses attention on the start of the academic, intellectual and personal journey of first-year students. Convocation demonstrates the support of the university and community to help students reach the goal of becoming the graduating class of 2024. Vowell’s lecture will be part of MSU’s 15th convocation.

Gail Schontzler can be reached at gails@dailychronicle.com or 582-2633.