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In The Media

Philadelphia Inquirer profiles faculty member Debonair Oates-Primus --Debonair Oates-Primus always knew she was expected to succeed. She was born to a teenage single mother and grew up in a tough West Philadelphia neighborhood, but those things were motivators, not hindrances. Oates-Primus had a sharp mind and a willingness to work hard — and that single mother behind her, demanding A’s and providing the kind of support that made everything possible. So when Oates-Primus crossed a stage at Indiana University of Pennsylvania this month, earning her doctorate in English literature and criticism and delivering a graduation speech to thunderous applause.

College Snapshots

Faculty member, Debonair Oates-Primus, was recently selected as student commencement speaker for Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s December 14 graduate commencement ceremony. She will receive her doctoral degree in Literature and Criticism. Oates-Primus began teaching English at the College 11 years ago. Since then, she has helped to create the Diversity Certificate Program and played an integral role in the development of the new Black Studies major. She has also published her short stories in several magazines and journals. In an Interview with IUP News, Oate-Primus explained that she was motivated to “set an example of achievement” for her students of color. She believes “students need to see that people from their community can be successful even what they aren’t able to see it modeled around them.” Oates-Primus's graduation was celebrated by her students. She said when that when they found out she passed "Well, the students couldn’t wait. [She] walked into the classroom and they were all yelling congratulations and running up to hug [her]."