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Morrison's Legacy In Princeton
originally published: 08/27/2019
“It is with profound sadness we share that, following a short illness, our adored mother and grandmother, Toni Morrison, passed away peacefully last night surrounded by family and friends,” shared the Morrison family in a statement. “She was an extremely devoted mother, grandmother and aunt who reveled in being with her family and friends. The consummate writer who treasured the written word, whether her own, her students or others, she read voraciously and was most at home when writing. Although her passing represents a tremendous loss, we are grateful she had a long, well lived life.”
Toni Morrison’s legacy will be forever remembered at Princeton University where much has happened in the last few years. Just last spring, Princeton awarded its inaugural Toni Morrison Prize, which is given to one or more graduating seniors whose individual or collaborative artistic practice has pushed the boundaries and enlarged the scope of our understanding of issues of race. And Spring 2019 was the first time specific classes at Princeton University focused on her work. Autumn Womack, Assistant Professor of African American Studies and English taught the undergraduate course “Toni Morrison and the Ethics of Reading” and Imani Perry, the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies taught the graduate seminar, “Toni Morrison: Texts and Contexts.”
In 2017, Princeton University dedicated Morrison Hall (formerly West College) in honor of Morrison’s career achievements and contributions to Princeton. The building houses the Office of the Dean of the College and faces Cannon Green behind Nassau Hall. A portrait of Morrison by Paul Wyse hangs in the building.
Toni Morrison joined the faculty of Princeton University in 1989 as the Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities. She has also been associated with the faculty of the Program in Creative Writing, and was the founding director of the Princeton Atelier, which brings acclaimed artists together with students to create projects in a workshop environment. Princeton awarded Morrison an honorary doctoral degree in 2013.
Before joining the Princeton faculty, Morrison held the Albert Schweitzer Chair in the Humanities at the State University of New York-Albany. She also has taught at Yale University, Bard College and Rutgers University.
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“Toni Morrison was a role model for New Jerseyans, and her literary work and its impact on our society speaks for itself. New Jersey is proud to have called Toni Morrison one of its own,” said Jon F. Hanson, Chairman, and Steve Edwards, President of the New Jersey Hall of Fame.