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Angelou drew largest Lyceum crowd ever seen

By Carolina Astrain
May 29, 2014 at 12:29 a.m.

Victoria College professor Michael Hummel, now retired, and Victoria College Lyceum guest speaker Maya Angelou in 1997.

When Maya Angelou came to Victoria in 1997 as part of the Victoria College Lyceum Lecture Series, the famed poet and author drew the largest audience the series has ever seen.

Michael Hummel, a retired Victoria College history professor and former Lyceum chairman, said the Victoria College Auditorium was full, and a video feed was sent to the Johnson Symposium and Student Center for those who could not get into the live lecture.

At the time, the Victoria College Auditorium could seat up to 1,100 people, according to Victoria Advocate archives.

"Her work was very popular at the time, and the subjects of her work have been very important," Hummel said.

Earline Grizzle, a former Lyceum committee member, said she greeted Angelou as she arrived in a limousine and introduced her on stage.

"Her presence was overpowering but in such a kind and gentle way," Grizzle said. "She was maybe the most dynamic person that I had ever met."

Angelou died Wednesday at age 86.

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