On Sunday, students and faculty recognized Oberlin College faculty and staff members in the first Black History Month Image Awards. "Faculty and staff have given us so much and we decided to give back to them," said first-year Melody Waller, one of three students who planned the event.
"We think professors and staff are overlooked for what they do for African-American students. We want them to know we are here for them as they are for us," Waller said.
College first-year L.J. Watkins said that the name "Image" for the program came from the respect students feel for faculty and staff. "They uphold the highest things we can achieve. We see them as images of what we can become," Watkins said.
The other two members of the awards planning committee were college sophomores Joy Williams and Amy Silveri. Waller said that planning and holding the event was "a lot of running around." Invitations, food, money and plaques were just a few of the things planners had to coordinate.
At the ceremony, the following awards were presented: Innovator of the Year was awarded to Jonathan Williams, associate director of admissions, and Vincena Allen, assistant director of admissions.
Most Supportive Faculty Member was awarded to Adrienne Lash-Jones, associate professor of African-American studies, and James Millette, professor of African-American studies.
Dean of Student Life and Services Charlene Cole received the Best New Faculty Award.
Albert G. Miller, assistant professor of Religion, received the Most Active Faculty Member Award.
Special Service Award went to Miriam Sharpley, lecturer in African-American studies and faculty-in-residence at Afrikan Heritage House (AHH).
Maggie Terry-Edwards, a cook at AHH, received the Service Award.
The Commitment and Dedication Award was presented to Brenda Grier-Miller, special advisor to student academic services.
Dolorus Nevels, administrative assistant in the African-American studies department, received the Overall Appreciation Award.
Planners of the banquet were optimistic about its impact. "AHH was packed. It was a beautiful event. I hope we can perpetuate it through the years," Waller said.
According to Silveri, the winners were proposed by the planning committee and their decisions were approved by African-American Studies majors, Abusua members and Black History Month committee members.
Silveri said that she wished they could have presented an award to the entire black faculty.
"We live in a community which is like a family and it is obvious that some people are constantly giving," Silveri said.
Students involved with the program were overwhelmingly supportive of it. "I just want to say that the African-American faculty has been very instrumental in African-American student retention. They have always been very supportive and have always had an ear to listen to us," Silveri said.
Show of appreciation: First-year Adrea Clark presents Adrienne Lash-Jones with the Best New Faculty Award at Sunday's Black History Month Image Awards at Afrikan-Heritage House (photo by Ariel Carr)
Copyright © 1996, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 124, Number 16; March 1, 1996
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