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CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (May 1, 2018) – Renowned author, activist, and educator Renée Watson will be awarded an honorary doctorate from Pine Manor College at its 107th Commencement on May 20, 2018.

A New York Times bestselling author, Watson is dedicated to social justice through community organizing and activism. Her young-adult novel Piecing Me Together (Bloomsbury, 2017) received the 2018 Coretta Scott King Award and a Newbery Honor. Her children’s picture books and teen novels have received several awards and international recognitions, including for her novel This Side of Home (Bloomsbury 2015) and for the picture book Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills (Random House, 2012), which earned a NAACP Image Award nomination in children’s literature. Her novel What Momma Left Me (Bloomsbury, 2010) debuted as the New Voice for 2010 in middle-grade fiction.

Watson is a Pine Manor College Solstice MFA in Creative Writing Program faculty member, teaching Writing for Young People. “Renée Watson is known by students and fellow mentors alike for her generous spirit, brilliant teaching methods, and support of emerging writers,” said Meg Kearney, Director of the Solstice MFA in Creative Writing. “Through her work and her teaching, Renée has enlightened many about issues of social justice and everyday struggles of young people—especially teens of color—in today’s America. We couldn’t feel more honored to have her as part of PMC’s Solstice MFA Program ‘family.’”

In the summer of 2016, Watson launched the I, Too, Arts Collective, a nonprofit committed to nurturing underrepresented voices in the creative arts. She launched the #LangstonsLegacy Campaign to raise funds to lease the Harlem brownstone where Langston Hughes lived and wrote during the last twenty years of his life; the house is now the home of the I, Too, Collective.

On behalf of the Pine Manor College Board of Trustees, Chairman Rob Utzschneider acknowledged Watson’s unique contributions: “Through her writing, teaching, and activism, Watson is putting into practice the Pine Manor College mission of ‘Educating with Purpose.’ She embodies both the work and the spirit of Pine Manor College to fight for social justice through intentional actions and caring words.”

About Pine Manor College

Pine Manor College (PMC) is a small, private, four-year liberal arts college dedicated to the mission of ‘Educating with Purpose.’ The College’s student population is comprised of 85% students of color and 84% are first in their families to attend college. The College focuses on pathways to careers through internships, organizational partnerships, and academic programs. As a result, 100% of PMC’s 2016 and 2017 graduates were either employed or pursuing post-degree programs within six months of graduation.

Contact Efrat Zinnar-Shavit
Director of Media and Publications


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