Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
April 16, 2024

Hopkins community mourns the loss of Shani Tahir Mott

By YANA MULANI | March 28, 2024

The University is mourning the loss of Shani Tahir Mott, who passed away Tuesday, March 12 from cancer, four days before her 48th birthday. She joined the Hopkins faculty in 2008 and was a lecturer in the Center for Africana Studies and the Department of History.

Mott's career focused on interdisciplinary research into the ways that racial language is formed by writers and political institutions. She explored how institutions shape the relationship between race and power, and how academic experiences, including those of funding and staffing, are thus impacted. 

Mott held a bachelor's degree in African American Studies and English from Wesleyan University and a PhD in American Culture from the University of Michigan. Prior to her career at Hopkins, she directed the Africana Studies program at Barry University. In 2019, she received the Voices of Color Faculty Award, MOCHA at Hopkins.

Mott's work went beyond her roles in academia, as she championed social justice and equity in the wider Baltimore community. She initiated a diversity initiative at The Bryn Mawr School and aided with Orita's Cross Freedom School. 

At Hopkins, she served on multiple committees, including the Homewood Council's Inclusive Excellence's Diversity Education and Inclusive Classrooms subcommittee. Further, she helped launch the first social justice and equity collective at Hopkins as well as curated a library exhibit on expressions of Black freedom. From 2018-2019, she was the co-principal investigator of the Housing Our Story Project.

Mott is survived by her husband, Nathan Connolly, and their three children, London, Clarke and Elijah.

For those who wish to pay their respects, a remembrance service is being held in her honor on Friday, March 29, 1-4 p.m. at the Center for Social Concern. A scrapbook for community members to write in will be placed in the Center for Africana Studies until April 12.

Mental Health Services can be reached at (410) 516-8278 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8:30 a.m.–6 p.m. (closed 12–1 p.m.) as well as Wednesdays from 1–6 p.m. Please leave a message during the 12–1 p.m. hour or press 1 to reach the on-call counselor.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis, contact the Behavioral Health Crisis Support Team at (410) 516-WELL (9355) to speak with a crisis support clinician.

Student Outreach and Support is available for appointments by calling (410) 516-7857 or scheduling through their website.

Religious and Spiritual Life can be reached at (410) 516-1880 from 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. from Monday through Friday.

A Place to Talk peer listening group is available Sunday through Thursday, 7 p.m.–1 a.m. in Brody Learning Commons 4010 and 7–11 p.m. in AMR I. 

The TalkNow virtual counseling service is available through

Students who live in residence halls may contact their Resident Advisor or Residence Director or stop by a Residential Life office. Residential Life can be contacted by phone on (410) 516-8283 or by email to

Additional health and well-being resources provided by the University can be found on the well-being website.

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