We are saddended to mark the passing of Rep. Donald Payne of New Jersey, who died of complications from colon cancer on Tuesday, March 6. Rep. Payne was a champion of higher education, and in particular worked hard to protect and expand financial aid programs for students. Because of his work on behalf of higher education, the AAUP presented him with the 2010 Henry Yost award. At the time, we wrote in Academe:
Congressman Donald Payne of New Jersey received the Henry T. Yost Award, which recognizes outstanding leadership on behalf of higher education, at the Capitol Hill Day reception. In conferring the award, the AAUP’s Committee on Government Relations highlighted Representative Payne’s long-standing commitment to enhancing the Pell Grant program, his important role in the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, and especially his leadership this spring in protecting student-aid programs during the health-care reform and budget reconciliation debate. As a senior member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, Payne was instrumental in passing the historic Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA). Payne’s leadership in passing SAFRA will help to increase access to affordable college education for American students and to build a world-class community college system—all at no cost to the taxpayers.
You can read his obituary in the New York Times here.