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Hundreds gathered at Columbia University for the 2019 Pulitzer Prizes award luncheon.

Caroline Harting
May 28, 2019

On May 28, at a ceremony in Columbia's Low Library, the 2019 Pulitzer Prize winners were celebrated for their contributions to the very best in journalism, literature and the arts. In a year marred by violence against journalists and students, the ceremony sought to extol the courageous men and women who sometimes risk their lives to report on stories important for the public to hear.

"Bravery and commitment to purpose was a palpable theme of this year’s prizes, " said Dana Canedy, the administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes.  "It served to remind us that, of course, the press will endure, even as security threats to journalists are greater than ever."

Canedy presented a special citation and a $100,000 award to the staff of the Capital Gazette who survived a horrific shooting at their offices in Annapolis, Maryland, on June 28, 2018, that left five of their colleagues dead. She also recognized the incredible work of the students who wrote for The Eagle Eye, the Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School newspaper, during the February, 14, 2018, mass shooting at their school that left  17 students, teachers and coaches dead.

[Here is a list of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize winners.]

Five young women standing at a table while being applauded by a group of people at a luncheon.

Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo expressed their gratitude for the tremendous support they received during the more than 500 days they spent in prison in Myanmar. They had been arrested for their reporting of the killing of 10 Rohingya boys and men by security forces. 

"The search for truth is truly the bedrock of modern life and society,” said Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger before presenting the Pulitzer Prizes to the winners. "It is an extraordinary achievement to have built the most protective shield for freedom of expression in the history of the world. The newness of what we celebrate today should also make us that much more conscious of just how fragile it all is."

To top off the incredible event, Jennifer Hudson made a surprise appearance and sang Amazing Grace as a tribute to Aretha Franklin, who was awarded a special citation for music this year.