Elizabeth Alexander is a renowned poet, essayist, memoirist, and scholar who is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and the Wun Tsun Tam Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Columbia Univeristy. She has been recently appointed President of the Andrew H. Mellon Foundation, the nation's biggest funder in the arts and humanities. She previously served as the inaugural Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University, where she taught for 15 years and chaired the African American Studies Department. she previously taught at Smith College, where she directed The Poetry Center, and at the University of Chicago, where she was awarded the Quantrell Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. In 2009, she composed and delivered “Praise Song for the Day” for the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Professor Alexander is the author of six books of poems and two books of essays, and among many honors and awards was twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, in poetry and in biography. Her latest book, the memoir The Light of the World, was released to great acclaim and named by Michelle Obama as her favorite book of 2015.