Institute for Arts and Humanities to honor Toni Morrison on April 7

University Park, Pa. — Penn State’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities will honor Toni Morrison, renowned novelist and Nobel laureate, with its 2010 Medal for Distinguished Contributions to the Arts and Humanities, at 8 p.m. on April 7, in Eisenhower Auditorium on the University Park campus.

The IAH Medal will be conferred by Penn State President Graham B. Spanier, and the medal ceremony and Morrison’s lecture will be free and open to the public. Tickets are required and available beginning March 29 at Eisenhower Auditorium, Penn State Tickets Downtown at the Downtown Theatre Center in State College, at the HUB-Robeson Center information desk and by phone at 800-ARTS-TIX. Established in 2006, the IAH Medal is awarded annually to individuals who have made significant public contributions to the advancement of the arts and the humanities in our times.

Morrison is the Robert F. Goheen professor in the humanities, emerita, at Princeton University, where for the last two decades she has lead classes and fostered interdisciplinary collaboration in the arts and the humanities. A critically acclaimed writer and educator, Toni Morrison is best known for her candid novels emphasizing race, gender and the African-American experience.

Her nine major novels include "The Bluest Eye" (1970), "Sula" (1977), "Song of Solomon" (1977) and "Paradise" (1998). Her 1987 novel "Beloved" won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and was later made into the widely popular feature film. Her latest national bestseller, "A Mercy" (2008), has continued to bring her worldwide admiration. In 1993, Morrison became the first African-American woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Morrison follows a renowned line of former IAH Medal recipients: Salman Rushdie (2006), Daniel Libeskind (2007), Mario Vargas Llosa (2008), Emanuel Ax, Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman (2009). Support for Morrison’s visit is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities through a grant to the Institute for the Arts and Humanities. The event is also co-sponsored by the Penn State Africana Research Center, the Center for American Literary Studies, the Richards Civil War Era Center, the University Libraries, the Department of African and African American Studies, the Department of English and the Department of History and Religious Studies.

The mission of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities is to support, promote and advance both research and creative work in the arts and humanities. For more information about Morrison’s visit, contact the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at (814) 865-0495 or For more about the IAH, visit online.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010