April 5, 2011

Diverse community builders receive Aldridge awards

Provost Earl Lewis, OMPS Director Donna Wong and Delores P. Aldridge at the awards ceremony.

Forty years ago, Delores P. Aldridge scanned her classroom and noticed only two Asian students and two black students.

Speaking at the Delores P. Aldridge Excellence Awards ceremony on March 31, the Grace Towns Hamilton Professor of Sociology and African American Studies praised Emory's inclusiveness. Aldridge surveyed the diverse crowd and said: "As I look out at you, I think of how much more beautiful Emory is today. You are the future."

Sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Programs and Services (OMPS), the Delores P. Aldridge Excellence Awards recognize students and faculty who have demonstrated leadership in community building, diversity research and service.

The awards embody Aldridge's tireless efforts confronting issues of race, gender, social justice and human rights. As Emory's first African American female faculty member, Aldridge pioneered the first degree-granting Black Studies program in the South and led the department for two decades.

"Those who are given much are required to give much back," Aldridge, a former two-term president of the National Council for Black Studies, told the audience. "There is no greater virtue than taking action for society."

Nearly 50 student nominees, along with senior administrators including Provost Earl Lewis, Emory College Dean Robin Forman and Dean of Campus Life John Ford, attended the event.

Awards were given to ambitious student community organizers and scholars, including those mentoring at-risk youth, encouraging multicultural participation in politics and developing innovative cross-cultural programming. Aldridge received a special honor for her "Exemplary Diversity Leadership and Social Activism."

College senior Kristen Chandle-Clayton won the Diversity Research award for her work interviewing students with one white parent and one black parent about their experiences at predominantly black or predominantly white universities. Professors William Shapiro and Karl Hagen jointly received the Faculty/Staff Excellence in Mentoring award for their dedication to students and creative teaching styles.

"These are all-around achievers," says OMPS Director Donna Wong. "The awards are a wonderful reflection of Emory's values."

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