Cynthia Oliver was named a University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign. She is a professor of dance at the university. She has been on the faculty since 2000. The award comes with a $30,000 cash prize over the next three years.
Professor Oliver holds a Ph.D. in performance studies from New York University. She is the author of Queen of the Virgins: Pagentry and Black Womanhood in the Caribbean (University of Mississippi Press, 2009).
L.D. Britt, president of the American College of Surgeons and chair and Brickhouse Professor in the department of surgery at Eastern Virginia Medical College, received an honorary doctorate from Tuskegee University in Alabama.
A graduate of the University of Virginia and the Harvard Medical School, Dr. Britt also holds a master of public health degree from Harvard.
Namwali Serpell, an assistant professor of English at the University of California at Berkeley, won the 2011 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, which is given to young women writers in the early stage of their careers. This academic year she is serving as an external fellow at the Stanford University Humanities Center.
Dr. Serpell, who received a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2008, plans to use the proceeds from her award to return to her native Zambia to conduct research for a new novel.
New Mexico State University has established an endowed scholarship fund to honor Andrew Wall, the first director of the black studies program at the university.
After earning a doctorate at NMSU in 1970, he joined the faculty at the university and established the black studies program. He served as president of the local chapter of the NAACP. Dr. Wall died in December 2010.