Trustees’ Council of Penn Women Present Beacon Award to Author Toni Morrison

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Media Contact:Julie McWilliams | | 215-898-1422April 12, 2012

PHILADELPHIA -- Author Toni Morrison has been honored for her contributions to literature and the arts and her commitment to advancing, supporting and promoting women.

Morrison received the Beacon Award from the University of Pennsylvania’s Trustees’ Council on Penn Women at April 12 ceremonies in the Harrison Auditorium of the Penn Museum.  Penn President Amy Gutmann made the presentation, and Penn students from Kelly Writers House and Platt Student Performing Arts House read from Morrison’s works.

Morrison was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1988 and a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. Among her best-known novels are “The Bluest Eye,” “Song of Solomon” and “Beloved.”

The Beacon Award is presented to highlight Penn’s commitment to women’s issues and recognizes outstanding leaders who have demonstrated this same commitment.  Morrison was the 11th recipient. Past Beacon awardees include U.S. Secretary of State and former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Third Circuit Court Judge Marjorie O. Rendell.

“Twenty-five years ago TCPW was created to foster and promote the advancement of women’s issues across Penn,” Leslie Simon Myers, TCPW chair, said. “In that time, we have made enormous strides, including bringing exceptional women such as Toni Morrison and the other highly distinguished Beacon Award recipients to campus, creating awards and grants to honor students and faculty, as well as made significant contributions to the University through both service and donations. We have also set an example for schools across the country to harness the capability of their alumnae to give back. As we look ahead, we will continue in our mission to create pioneering programs and initiatives that enhance the experience for women across Penn’s campus.”

The Beacon Award ceremony is one of a series of events that TCPW will hold for its members during its annual spring meeting April 12-13 to commemorate its 25th anniversary. 

In celebration of this milestone, TCPW has created the Trustees’ Council of Penn Women 25th Anniversary Excellence in Advising Award, a student-nominated honor to be given annually to faculty members who have provided exceptional counsel to undergraduate students and who highlight the importance of outstanding advising across the Penn community.

The inaugural recipients of the TCPW Excellence in Advising Awards are Julie Davis, associate professor and undergraduate chairman in the History of Art Department, and Barbara Mann Wall, associate professor, Evan C Thompson Endowed Term Chair for Excellence in Teaching and associate director of the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing.