Photography professor Pipo Nguyen-duy ’83 to deliver Carleton convocation titled, ‘A Dust of Life’

Nguyen-duy is professor of studio art and photography at Oberlin College.

Erica Helgerud ’20 1 May 2024 Posted In:
Headshot of Pipo Nguyen Duy ’83.
Pipo Nguyen Duy ’83Photo:

Pipo Nguyen-duy ’83, professor of studio art and photography at Oberlin College, will deliver the Carleton convocation address on Friday, May 3 from 10:50 to 11:50 a.m. in Skinner Chapel. His address is titled, “A Dust of Life.”

Nguyen-duy was born in Hue, Vietnam. Growing up within thirty kilometers of the demilitarized zone near the 18th parallel, he describes hearing gunfire every day of his early life. He immigrated to the United States as a political refugee.

Nguyen-duy has taken on many things in life in pursuit of his diverse interests. He has competed as a national athlete in table tennis, spent time living as a Buddhist monk in northern India, and majored in economics at Carleton. While living in New York City’s East Village, where he worked as a bartender and later as a nightclub manager, his interests turned to art after meeting people such as musician Don Cherry and artist Keith Haring. He then earned an MA in photography, followed by an MFA in photography, both from the University of New Mexico–Albuquerque.

Nguyen-duy has received many awards and grants over the years, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in Photography; a National Endowment for the Arts grant; an En Foco grant; a  Professional Development Fellowship from the College Arts Association; a National Graduate Fellowship from the American Photography Institute; a fellowship from the Oregon Arts Commission in Salem, Oregon; a B. Wade and Jane B. White Fellowship in the Humanities at Oberlin; and two Individual Artist Fellowships from the Ohio Arts Council in Columbus, Ohio. Nguyen-duy has been an artist-in-residence at Monet’s Garden through the Artists at Giverny Fellowship from Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund as well as at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, California through the Light Work Artist-in-Residence Program. He has also lectured widely and his work has been exhibited and is in public collections in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

This convocation will also be live streamed — please register in advance to receive information on how to attend via Zoom. Carleton convocations are free and open to the public. Find upcoming events and archived recordings (including in podcast form) on the convocations website. For more information, including disability accommodations, call 507-222-5461 or email

After each convocation address, Carleton hosts a luncheon with the speaker. Convocation luncheon is held in the Alumni Guest House Meeting Room (unless otherwise noted) from noon to 1 p.m. and is generally limited to 35 people. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP on the convocations website.

Erica Helgerud ’20 is the news and social media manager for Carleton College.