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Howard University Establishes Toni Morrison Endowed Chair in Arts and Humanities

Toni Morrison

WASHINGTONHoward University announced it will establish an endowed chair position in honor of distinguished Howard alumna and award-winning winning novelist Toni Morrison. The Toni Morrison Endowed Chair in Arts and Humanities will be established utilizing $3 million from philanthropist Mackenzie Scott’s transformative gift to the University.

“It is with great honor that we establish the Toni Morrison Endowed Chair in Arts and Humanities,” said President Wayne A. I. Frederick. “Toni Morrison left her mark as one of the greatest figures in American literature, and her legacy is one that continues to inspire future generations of writers and thinkers. By establishing an endowed chair in her name, we hope to deepen our students’ exposure to literary and other creative arts and to continue to remember Ms. Morrison’s legacy.”

The Toni Morrison Chair in Arts and Humanities will be conferred to a distinguished faculty member, who is recognized as a national and international leader in his or her field of scholarship or creative work. The chair holder will have a track record of academic and creative impact that reflects the acclaimed career of Toni Morrison. The University will seek a chair holder whose prestige and ongoing impactful scholarship will help to elevate Howard University’s scholarship and creative work across the arts and humanities.

Additionally, the Toni Morrison Chair in Arts and Humanities will foster a vibrant intellectual community in the arts and humanities, and will collaborate with faculty across the disciplines to oversee the development of an Arts & Humanities Leadership Laboratory. The laboratory will position these disciplines at Howard University to be leaders in addressing roiling social issues and advancing new possibilities for human fulfillment, as well as to prepare future alums for leadership roles in the context of an increasingly diverse America.

Morrison was a Nobel Laureate and received countless other honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, from President Barack Obama in 2012. She authored nearly one dozen novels, several volumes of critical essays, children’s books and more. Morrison earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Howard University in 1953 and a master’s degree from Cornell University in 1955. In 1958, Morrison returned to her Alma Mater to teach in the Department of English, where she had an immense impact on her students. Mackenzie Scott, a former pupil of Morrison’s, regards her as one of her most influential teachers and Morrison regarded Scott as one of her best creative writing students.

*Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders/Getty


About Howard University

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 14 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced one Schwarzman Scholar, three Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 12 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit www.howard.edu.