St. Olaf College | News

Wondemagegnehu receives faculty Social Justice Award

St. Olaf College Assistant Professor of Music Tesfa Wondemagegnehu will deliver a public address titled To Repair the Recital: Storytelling and Song on Tuesday, April 19, in acceptance of the faculty’s inaugural Social Justice Award.

The event, which begins at 7:30 p.m. in Boe Memorial Chapel, will be streamed and archived online. It will be followed by a reception in the chapel undercroft.

The Social Justice Award recognizes faculty who have made an outstanding contribution to diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism at St. Olaf and demonstrates the college’s commitment to developing a more inclusive environment that will better foster a sense of belonging on campus.

Wondemagegnehu, the conductor of the Chapel Choir and Viking Chorus at St. Olaf, is committed to supporting diverse communities through music-related social justice movements. He co-founded the Justice Choir movement, collaborated on several nationally-distributed radio programs on Black Music, and has served as the guest artistic director for Minnesota’s One Voice Mixed Chorus, one of the largest LGBTQ+ choirs in North America.

In 2019 Wondemagegnehu was named artist-in-residence for the Harvard University Glee Club, where they co-created and executed the truth-telling W.E.B. DuBois Musical Project. His most recent work has been the To Repair Project — a 60-day, 7,000-mile solo journey to over 40 cities around the country collecting Black stories on what repair looks like. Through his work, Wondemagegnehu has gained a formidable reputation for bridging the gap of inequity and inspiring others to take action in their communities.

As a recipient of the Social Justice Award, Wondemagegnehu will receive a stipend for a self-selected social justice project to be carried out in the next academic year. These funds will be used to further Wondemagegnehu’s vision of transforming the world through justice, equality, and respect. He will share more about his project in his public address.