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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Micere Githae Mugo to receive 2011 Prize for Excellence in Masters Level Teaching at Syracuse University

Mugo to present Masters Convocation address

April 11, 2011, by Judy Holmes

Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences will award the 2011 Prize for Excellence in Master’s Level Teaching to Mĩcere Gĩthae Mũgo, professor of African American Studies and Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence (2004-07). The award will be presented during the 2011 College of Arts and Sciences Master’s Convocation, 2 p.m. Saturday, May 14.  Mũgo will deliver the keynote address during the Convocation.

An internationally renowned poet, playwright, literary critic, and scholar, Mũgo joined the College’s Department of African American Studies in 1993.  A native of Kenya, she has held distinguished teaching positions in her homeland, Zimbabwe, and the United States, including dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Nairobi, the first woman dean at the university. She was forced to go into exile in 1982 at the height of repression against political activists by the Moi dictatorship. Her research and teaching interests include African, African American, and Caribbean literature; African orature; creative writing; drama and theater; cultural and film studies; women and gender studies; and education.

At SU, Mũgo has served as director of graduate studies in the Department of African American Studies, the SU Abroad summer seminar to Southern Africa, and of the University’s Africa Initiative. She also served as chair of the Department of African American Studies and was instrumental in developing the department’s master’s program in Pan African Studies. She has served on numerous College and University committees, including the University Senate, the Faculty Council, the SU Abroad program committee, and as a faculty member of the Reneé Crown University Honors Program, among others.

Mũgo has been actively involved in a number of community organizations and foundations, including the African International Refugee Foundation (Washington, D.C.), Inter-Faith Works of CNY, the “Free Mumia” campaign, and Amnesty International. Mũgo was a founder of the Pan African Community of Central New York and one of the organization’s first presidents.  She is also the founder and former president of the Syracuse-based United Women of Africa Organization.

Mũgo’s publications include six books, a co-authored play, eight co-edited supplementary readers for Zimbabwean schools and an edited journal, Third World in Perspective.  Her forthcoming book with the Africa World Press and the Red Sea Press is called Writing and Speaking from the Heart of my Mind: Selected Essays and Speeches.” Additionally, she has many book chapters, three monographs, a number of internationally anthologized poems, numerous reviews, interviews, and citations.

Her many awards and honors include the CNY Women of Distinction Award (2008), the Distinguished Africanist Award (2007), the Lifetime Community Service Award from the Syracuse Chapter of Above and Beyond Community Recognition Awards, Inc. (2004), and the Human Rights Award, Onondaga County Human Rights Commission (2004). In 2002, the Kenyan East African Standard Century placed her on its “The Top 100: They Influenced Kenya Most” during the 20th Century list.  She is also a recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Award for writing and publication (1992), a Ford Foundation Award for research on African orature and human rights (1987-1990), and the Marcus Garvey Award from the Canadian Branch of U.N.I.A. (1985).

Mũgo holds a Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of New Brunswick and degrees from the University of East Africa in Nairobi and Makerere.