IUPUC and NAACP Present Awards as Part of MLK Day Celebration

January 21, 2021
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Columbus and the surrounding community joined together to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, January 18, 2021. The Columbus/Bartholomew County NAACP collaborated with IUPUC to host an online event which included the presentation of awards to individuals and organizations who best reflect the ideals for which Dr. King is celebrated.

NAACP Columbus/Bartholomew County Annual Awards

Johnnie Edwards, President of the NAACP Columbus/Bartholomew believes the event found a way to bring our community together during a difficult time, saying “The collaboration between IUPUC and the NAACP Columbus/Bartholomew shows how organizations continue to find avenues to unite our communities.” He presented a several awards on behalf of the NAACP Columbus/Bartholomew. “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said ‘Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.’ These awards recognize members of the community who are doing this every day to help move us forward as a welcoming community,” Edwards said.

The awards included:

•    Athlete Award - Christopher Quisenberry

•    Student Award - Hunter Spaulding

•    Large Business Award - The Harmon Group 

•    Small Business Award - Coach's Cutz, Ray Gipson            

•    Outstanding Citizen Award - Brian Nix                  

•    Outstanding Citizen Award - Lori Thompson      

•    Distinguished Service Award - Mikayla Lomax 

IUPUC Excellence in Diversity Awards

Now in its 11th year, the Excellence in Diversity Award at IUPUC recognizes and honors demonstrated commitment and outstanding efforts toward creating a diverse and inclusive community. Each year, IUPUC recognizes one campus initiative and one community initiative that meet the defined criteria. Recipients can be individuals, organization, groups, units, projects, or institutions.

Reinhold Hill, IUPUC Vice Chancellor and Dean, presented the IUPUC Excellence in Diversity Community Award to the EcO Attainment Network. Hill noted that the EcO Attainment Network's purpose is to increase the region's high school graduation rate, post-secondary attainment rate, and the percentage of adults possessing a high school diploma. “We applaud the network's leadership to lift up equity in education and work across Region 9,” said Hill. The EcO Attainment Network is part of the Community Education Coalition, partners with the Lumina Foundation, and has recently received the impressive Talent Hub designation.

Hill awarded Matt Souza the IUPUC Excellence in Diversity Campus Award. “Souza is an impactful leader, promoting equity and social justice across the campus and the community,” said Hill. Souza is the sponsor of the Latino/American Organization of Volunteers in Education (L.O.V.E.) student group and was instrumental in developing the Exito Latino event which has helped to increase postsecondary opportunities for Latino youth across the AirPark Campuses. Souza also provides leadership for Diversity Circles, a program that has involved more than 150 community members since 2012. Souza is a long-time member of the Columbus Human Rights Commission, currently serving as chairperson. Souza had this to say about receiving the award: “Since early 2010, IUPUC has enjoyed the leadership of three forward looking Vice Chancellors to whom diversity, equity and inclusion have been fundamental to IUPUC’s vision.  It is gratifying to have witnessed IUPUC’s contributions to our community.”

To learn more about the Excellence in Diversity Award, visit go.iupuc.edu/diversity-award.