From SU News on Feb 23, 2017:
"Simson, professor at Syracuse, professor emerita at SUNY Morrisville, and scholar and teacher of 19th-century African American literature, died on Sunday, Feb. 19. She is remembered by her colleagues as a strong champion of the department, her students and her colleagues."
"When Renate “Rennie” Simson joined the Syracuse University faculty in 1979 as a full-time instructor, African American studies (AAS) was just being established as a department in the College of Arts and Sciences. It had existed at the University for eight years as a stand-alone program, one that was underfunded and at risk of being discontinued."
"She quickly delved in, passionate in her roles as a teacher and in working with her colleagues to build a strong and renowned department. In 1989, she helped to create the 13-Point Document, a set of bylaws that helped the department grow in faculty size, to bring esteemed scholars to campus and to create the master’s degree program in Pan-African studies."