PHOTO: SAMEER KHAN AND DAVID DOOLEY/PHOTOBUDDY LLC

Funk came to Princeton for Cornel West *80.

The University never has bid goodbye to a departing professor quite the way it did May 16, when it rolled out a parade of rap stars, hip-hop artists, and funk music personalities at a retirement celebration at McCarter Theatre for West, a prominent African-American studies professor. 

There were tributes by actor Harry Belafonte (in person) and television personality Bill Maher (via video), and affectionate farewells from President Tilghman, students, and professors. The audience of 800 danced in the aisles — Tilghman joined in, too — and West hit the stage to sing alongside George ­Clinton (with West in photo) & Parliament Funkadelic. 

Professor Eddie S. Glaude Jr. *97, chairman of the Center for African American Studies, said West “embodies what it means to be on fire with ideas.” 

“All this love at Princeton coming at me ... this just blows my mind,” said West, who announced in November that he is joining the faculty at Union ­Theological Seminary in New York.