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Princeton University Names West College for Nobel Laureate TONI MORRISON: Morrison Hall 2017 by Photojournalist Lisa Pacino

Princeton University Names West College for Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison. It will be named “Morrison Hall” on July 1, 2017.

Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison. Photograph by Lisa Pacino.

Nobel laureate Toni Morrison was born Chloe Ardelia Wofford on February 18, 1931 in Lorain, Ohio. She is one of the most decorated living authors worldwide. In 1993, she became the first and only African-American woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Among her countless honors are the National Book Critics Circle Award for the novel Song of Solomon in 1977; she received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988 for her novel Beloved, which was recognized as the single best work of American fiction published in the last 25 years. Morrison received the National Humanities Medal in 2000, President Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012, and she is listed as the “100 Greatest Writers of All Time.” International honors include the Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1993 and the Ordre National de la Légion d’honneur in 2010.

Morrison graduated Howard University in 1953 with a B.A. in English, and earned a Master of Arts from Cornell University in 1955. She began her career teaching English at Texas Southern University in Houston, then at Howard, before becoming an editor for a textbook publisher in Syracuse, New York in 1965. Two years later she joined Random House publishing in New York City, where she became a senior trade-book editor. In that capacity, Morrison played a vital role in bringing black literature into the mainstream, editing books by authors such as Muhammad Ali, Henry Dumas, Toni Cade Bambara, Angela Davis, Gayl Jones, and numerous others. Morrison, herself a writer, began a novel while she was teaching at Howard. Her first novel, The Bluest Eye, was published in 1970. Several novels followed, including Beloved published in September 1987. She became a professor at Princeton University in 1989 and was a member of the University’s creative writing program until she retired in 2006. In 1994, she founded the Princeton Atelier, bringing together undergraduate students in interdisciplinary collaborations with acclaimed artists and performers. Morrison a Professor Emerita at Princeton, was awarded an honorary doctoral degree from the University at the 2013 Commencement. In 2014, Morrison’s papers became part of the permanent library collections of Princeton and are open for research to University students, faculty, and scholars worldwide. Morrison has been awarded the 2016 Emerson-Thoreau Medal by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in recognition of her distinguished contributions to the field of literature. She accepted the award at a ceremony on April 6, 2017 at the academy in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her most recent book God Help the Child was published in 2015, and she is now working on her twelfth novel.

University names West College for Toni Morrison; Wilson School auditorium for Arthur Lewis, April 18, 2017: Princeton University’s trustees have approved recommendations to name West College, a prominent and central campus building, for the Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, an emeritus faculty member at Princeton, and to name the major auditorium in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs for Sir Arthur Lewis, a Nobel laureate in Economics, who served on the school’s faculty from 1963 to 1983. The name of former University President Harold Dodds will be transferred from the auditorium to the adjacent atrium that serves as the entryway into Robertson Hall. The new names will take effect on July 1, 2017. The recommendations were made by the Council of the Princeton University Community (CPUC) Committee on Naming, a committee composed of faculty, students, staff and alumni that was established in the fall of 2016 to advise the trustees on the naming of “buildings or other spaces not already named for historical figures or donors to recognize individuals who would bring a more diverse presence to the campus.” The committee made its recommendations after seeking suggestions from throughout the University community, including through a website that provided background information about the two spaces that the trustees asked it to consider.
Morrison Hall: Toni Morrison is the Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities, Emerita, at Princeton and a recipient of the 1993 Nobel Prize in literature. She was the first African American to be awarded the Nobel Prize in literature. Morrison taught courses at Princeton in the humanities and African American studies. One of her courses led to a book entitled “Playing in the Dark.” After several years she joined the creative writing program where she advised such students as the now-published writers David Treuer, Ladee Hubbard, Kate Morgenroth, MacKenzie Tuttle and Rachel Kadish. Her arrival helped to attract other faculty and students of color to Princeton, and she played a catalytic role in expanding Princeton’s commitments both to the creative and performing arts and to African American studies. In 1994 she founded the Princeton Atelier, bringing together undergraduate students in interdisciplinary collaborations with acclaimed artists and performers such as Jacques d’Amboise, A.S. Byatt, Peter Sellars, Yo-Yo Ma, Richard Danielpour, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Gabriel Garcia Márquez, Anonymous 4, Richard Price, Pig Iron Theatre Company, Maria Tucci and Allegro Kent among others. In 1996 she gave the keynote address — “The Place of the Idea, The Idea of the Place” — as Princeton celebrated its 250th anniversary, and in 2013 the University awarded her an honorary doctorate. In addition to the Nobel Prize, Morrison won a National Book Critics Circle Award for “Song of Solomon” in 1977; a Pulitzer Prize for “Beloved” in 1988; the Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1993; the National Humanities Medal in 2000; the Ordre National de la Légion d’honneur in 2010; the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012; and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Emerson-Thoreau Medal in 2017.

Lisa Pacino and Under The Duvet Productions are based in New York. Photography services are available worldwide. If you wish to book photography services, receive information, and/or license images for commercial and/or promotional use please E-mail: UnderTheDuvetProductions@gmail.com

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