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Dancer/choreographer Bill T. Jones receives the University Medal from University President Harvey Stenger on Sept. 24.
Photo by Jonathan Cohen
Homecoming 2016: Bill T. Jones receives University Medal
September 26, 2016Tweet
Acclaimed dancer, choreographer and artistic director Bill T. Jones brought the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company to the Anderson Center as one of the highlights of Homecoming Weekend – and received the University Medal prior to the company’s performance.
Jones, who arrived at Binghamton University in 1970 as a theatre major, found his passion for dance and changed his path. Meeting fellow student Arnie Zane in 1971 solidified his new direction. The two became dancers and life partners, embarking on the creative journey that Jones continues today, years after Zane’s death in 1988.
Jones has received many of the most prestigious awards an artist can receive, including a MacArthur Genius Award, a pair of “Izzie” Awards, the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, a Tony Award, honors from the Kennedy Center and the National Medal of Arts. Later this month, he will receive the International Humanities Award.
In awarding Jones the University Medal, President Harvey Stenger called him one of the “most influential and innovative members of the Binghamton community, whose many accomplishments, combined with his unceasing commitment to creativity and defiance toward injustice, make him a role model for Binghamton graduates.”
The University Medal, the highest honor Binghamton University can bestow, is reserved for individuals whose outstanding qualities and achievements serve as examples for the entire University community.
The citation noted that Jones is “a role model for young performers and a visionary artist who has propelled dance in new directions. And most of all, a life-long student and a fierce and fearless advocate for equality and acceptance.”
“I feel I should be pithy and meaningful at this point,” Jones said. “But I’m fresh out. My heart is very, very open.”
Jones acknowledged those who support him in his work, including “Janet Wong, my associate art director who makes this ship travel through sometimes troubled waters. My companion and husband, Bjorn Amelan, my whole company and the person I can feel the spirit of tonight, Arnold Martin Zane.
“Believe me, I am a crazy SOB, so I don’t believe everything (Stenger) said. I just try to keep on keeping on and encourage you to do the same.”