Around Campus

(From left) Betira Shahollari, Finance; Christina Root, Social Work; Myshia Liles-Moultrie, Social Work; Tasha Tinglan, Social Work; and Carlie Austin, Nursing, each received Keeper of the Dream scholarships.

Actor, director, producer and literacy advocate LeVar Burton spoke at “Keeper of the Dream.”

Around Campus

Winter 2016

Keeper of the Dream Awards Celebration

Five receive 2016 Keeper of the Dream scholarships

At a standing room-only Keeper of the Dream Awards ceremony on January 18, five OU students received scholarships for contributing to interracial understanding and goodwill, and attendees heard from guest speaker LeVar Burton, the actor, director, producer and literacy advocate.

Myshia Liles-Moultrie, Social Work; Christina Root, Social Work; Betira Shahollari, Finance;
Tasha Tinglan, Social Work; and Carlie Austin, Nursing, each received scholarships. Established in 1993, Keeper of the Dream provides annual scholarships of up to $5,000 for students who have demonstrated strong citizenship, scholarship and leadership. Since the program’s inception, more than 90 students from a variety of academic majors have been awarded scholarships.

Omar Brown-El, director of the Center for Multicultural Initiatives, said the Keeper of the Dream awards celebration is “one way we honor Dr. Martin Luther King's legacy here at Oakland each year. It is also a celebration to honor some outstanding students who reflect Dr. King's vision on our campus.”

LeVar Burton and Omar Brown-El, director of the Center for Multicultural Initiatives.

Burton, known for his iconic role as Kunta Kinte in the landmark television series Roots, also gained fame as Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation. In addition to many feature film credits, Burton is recognized for hosting Reading Rainbow, the Emmy award-winning PBS children’s series which aired from 1983-2009.

After the event, Burton told WWJ Newsradio 950 that “there is one important thing to remember: all of our heroes, all of the icons that we tend to lift up for their accomplishments in life are all human – all of our heroes are human.”

Corporate contributions to Keeper of the Dream have increased steadily, making it possible to increase the initial level of awards from two $1,000 scholarships in 1993 to several $5,000 scholarships today.

This year’s KOD Scholarship Sponsors were Autoliv North America, Beaumont Health, L&L McIntosh Scholarship, Oakland University Alumni Association and the Oakland University Credit Union. The 2016 Unity Sponsors were Key Bank Foundation and Avis Ford. The Speaker Sponsor was OU’s Student Life Lecture Board.

Keeper of the Dream also marked the start of OU’s African American Celebration Month, with this year’s theme of “Preserving Our Heritage.”

The campus community participated in events that highlight the importance of diversity and raise awareness of African American contributions to society.

For more information on Keeper of the Dream, call the Center for Multicultural Initiatives at (248) 370-4404 or visit