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June 20, 1996

Scholarship to honor Lillie

A scholarship has been established in honor of Vernell A. Lillie, founder and director of the Kuntu Repertory Theatre and a faculty member in Pitt's Department of Africana Studies.

The scholarship was arranged by Ruth Simmons, a former student of Lillie's at Phillis Wheatley High School in Houston, Tex. Simmons is currently president of Smith College. She is the first African American woman to head a top-ranked college in the United States.

In a letter to Lillie announcing the scholarship, Simmons wrote: "I am exceedingly proud of all that you have accomplished and remain ever grateful for the inspiration you provided me over the years. I am hopeful that your story will encourage others to follow the path of teaching and mentoring." The scholarship was established at Dillard University in New Orleans. Both Lillie and Simmons are graduates of the school.

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