Shirley Verrett Award

The Shirley Verrett Award was created in 2012 by the Office of the Senior Vice Provost in honor of the late Shirley Verrett, a teacher who “would have walked the world over for her students." Ms. Verrett was a James Earl Jones Distinguished University Professor of Voice at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, as well as an internationally acclaimed opera singer who was one of the pioneering leaders in the generation of black opera singers. Ms. Verrett performed over 40 roles all over the world during the course of her illustrious four decade career.

This award recognizes a faculty member whose work – teaching, performance, scholarship, or service –supports the success of female students or faculty in the arts who come from diverse cultural and racial backgrounds. Please note: "Arts" are broadly defined to include literary, visual, and performance arts (for example, poetry, photography, painting, dance, films).

A nominee should be a full-time tenured/tenure-track, lecturer or clinical faculty member at University of Michigan who is dedicated to:

- Enhancing the success of women of color students and faculty in the arts.
- Encouraging students’ intellectual curiosity and personal development.
- Being committed to diversity as an important part of the University’s educational mission.

One award is made annually and includes a $5,000 stipend. Nominations (including self-nominations) and letters of support are welcome from faculty, staff, and students.  Please note, the nomination requires two additional statements of support. 



2011-2012: Professor Glenda Dickerson, Department of Theatre and Drama, School of Music, Theatre and Dance 

2012-2013: Professor Robin Wilson, Department of Theatre And Drama, School of Musice, Theatre and Dance

2013-2014: Professor Charles Oyamo Gordon, English Language and Literature, School of Music, Theatre

2014-2015: Professor Emerita Lorna Goodison, English Language and Literature, Afroamerican and African Studies

2015-2016: Professor Emeritus George Shirley, Joseph Edgar Maddy Distinguished University Emeritus Professor of Voice, School of Music, Theatre & Dance

2016-2017: Anita Gonzalez, Professor of Theatre & Drama, School of Music, Theatre & Dance

2017-2018: Naomi André, Associate Director for Faculty, Residential College, and Associate Professor, Afroamerican and African Studies, the Residential College, and Women’s Studies