During her career as chair of Afroamerican and African Studies and professor of Comparative Literature and Francophone Studies at the University of Michigan, Frieda Ekotto ’86 has developed and taught innovative courses on literature and law in France; literature and film in Africa, the Caribbean, and Maghreb; postcolonial narratives by Francophone women and minorities; and representations of family and friendship in Francophone film and literature. Her contributions have been vital to the emergence and consolidation of Francophone studies at the University of Michigan and to the teaching of race and ethnicity in the context of French-speaking cultures.

The author of seven books and numerous articles, Ekotto has lectured across the United States, Australia, Algeria, Cameroon, Canada, China, Cuba, England, France, Germany, Nigeria, Tunisia, France, South Africa, Ivory Coast, Malaysia, Norway, Scotland, and Singapore, among other countries. She has been invited as a visiting professor to China, England, and France and was a distinguished visiting professor at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia.

Ekotto, who earned a Ph.D. in comparative literature and French literature from the University of Minnesota, has received a number of grants and awards, including a Ford Foundation seed grant for work with institutions of higher learning in Africa and the Caribbean Philosophical Association’s Nicolàs Guillén Prize.

During Homecoming 2015, Ekotto will receive the Louis T. Benezet Award from Colorado College. The award recognizes outstanding achievement in one’s chosen field, excellence through unusual success or contribution, innovation or research that has advanced a profession or a cause, and/or extraordinary contributions and achievements that have impacted people’s lives and exemplify the values of a liberal arts education. These attributes characterized the important contributions of the late Louis T. Benezet, president of Colorado College from 1955-63.