The Chicago-based MacArthur Foundation has announced the selection of 24 individuals in this year’s class of MacArthur Fellows. The honors, frequently referred to as the “Genius Awards,” include a $625,000 stipend over the next five years which the individuals can use as they see fit. Fellows are chosen for their “extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits.” The goal of the awards is to “encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations” without the burden of having to worry about their financial situation.
Of this year’s 24 MacArthur Fellows, three are African Americans with ties to the academic world.
Patrick Awuah is the founder and president of Ashesi University in Ghana. He is a graduate of Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and holds an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley. He worked as a software engineer fro Microsoft Inc. before returning to Ghana to establish Ashesi University. Awuah is a member of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations and a fellow of the African Leadership Initiative of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent for The Atlantic magazine. He has served as a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Management. Coates, who attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., is the author of The Beautiful Struggle: A Memoir (Spiegel & Grau, 2008) and Between the World and Me (Spiegel & Grau, 2015).
LaToya Ruby Frazier is an assistant professor of photography in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her collection of black-and-white photographs of the steel town of Braddock, Pennsylvania, was published in the book The Notion of Family (Aperture, 2014). Frazier is a graduate of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and holds a master of fine arts degree from Syracuse University.