Tuesday, February 22, 2005
OU celebrates diversity at KOD scholarship banquet
By Kelly Smith, OU Writer
In recognition of their strong citizenship, scholarship and leadership in breaking down cultural stereotypes and promoting interracial understanding, Oakland University honored five students at the 13th annual Keeper of the Dream Scholarship Awards Banquet on Feb. 17 in OU’s Shotwell-Gustafson Pavilion.
The banquet commemorates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., honors the achievements of each Keeper of the Dream scholarship recipient, and benefits future student scholarships.
This year's recipients include Sheila Brooks, an accounting major from Detroit; Andrew Gaines, a journalism major from Detroit; Jameelah Muhammad, a biology/environmental health major from Southfield; Kathryn Miller, an elementary education major from Oxford; and Ashley Seal, a nursing major from Southfield.
“I am very proud of each one of you and look forward to the many more accomplishments you will achieve during your time at Oakland,” said OU President Gary Russi in his banquet remarks.
Bank One, DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company Fund, the Oakland University Alumni Association and William Beaumont Hospitals each sponsored a named scholarship award. In addition, DaimlerChrysler Corporation provided the speaker sponsorship, which brought Coretta Scott King, human rights activist, leader and wife of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to campus to deliver the keynote address.
In her remarks, King said this year’s theme, “Our Vision – Our Promise,” presents us with a challenge to make a commitment to promoting unity, peace and harmony.
“The time has come for everyone to fulfill my husband’s dream,” she said.
She also recalled how some of the phrases from Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech were first presented in Detroit on June 23, 1963, at Cobo Hall. Calling it the “greatest demonstration up to that point,” King remembered how she suggested to her husband that he organize the same march and rally in the nation’s capital.
King also remarked on how many organizations across the world celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day by participating in community service projects. She said that oftentimes these one-day projects turn into yearlong commitments. King urged audience members to visit The King Center Web site, which allows visitors to view a list of possible community service projects in their area.
In closing, King implored everyone to take a stand against all forms of discrimination.
“This is the time and hour of change. Rise up now and come forward from the shadows. The torch of leadership is being passed to your generation. Rise up and lead our world to a better destiny … when you do, Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of a loving community will become a reality.”
The university's cable TV station, OUTV, will broadcast a recording of this year's Keeper of the Dream Banquet on various dates and times. OUTV programming is available on Comcast Cablevision Channel 74 in the following communities: Auburn Hills, Berkley, Clawson, Ferndale, Huntington Woods, Oakland Township, Pleasant Ridge, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Royal Oak and Troy.
2005 Keeper of the Dream Award Winners:
2005 Ford Motor Company Fund Keeper of the Dream Award Recipient
Brooks purposefully seeks opportunities to promote goodwill in all she does. She worked with OU’s Center for Multicultural Initiatives and The Honors College to inform incoming freshmen about Oakland’s diverse environment. She helped guide freshman students through their first year of college by sharing advice about academic, social and personal matters as a peer mentor. In addition, she helped create unity among students who reside on campus as a member of the Vandenberg House Council and The Honors College Residential College Council.
“I am so honored and humbled to receive this award,” Brooks said. “It reaffirms my future goal of setting up a private accounting firm and hiring college interns and co-op students to work there. I just think it’s so important to give back to the community.”
2005 DaimlerChrysler Corporation Keeper of the Dream Award Recipient
Every day, Gaines works hard to break down cultural stereotypes and to advance interracial understanding. He helps recruit prospective OU students by serving as an ambassador for the Office of Admissions and, for his exemplary work, became their 2003 Employee of the Year. He also serves on the staff of Oakland’s student newspaper, The Oakland Post, and hones his broadcast skills at the university’s student radio station. Gaines also is involved with several campus religious groups, including Lighthouse Ministries, One Body and the Gospel Choir.
“I truly take pleasure and pride in keeping Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream alive,” Gaines said. “I feel so blessed to win this award, but I know my work doesn’t end here. I plan to work with children, our future, and motivate them to also keep the dream alive.”
2005 Oakland University Alumni Association Keeper of the Dream Award Recipient
Despite a demanding course load, Miller still finds time to give to Oakland. As an orientation group leader, she introduced incoming freshmen to the idea of diversity at the college level. Miller also connects students to faculty, staff, resources and peers as a Connections peer leader; works with student leaders to develop effective fund-raising tactics as an adviser for the Residence Halls Council Financial Review and Fund-Raising Committee; and assists a residence hall floor in breaking down stereotypes as a resident assistant for the Department of University Housing.
Reflecting on how the award will play into her future plans, Miller said, “Schools just aren’t diverse these days. It’s so important to educate our future leaders at a young age. Diversity is something I can’t wait to integrate in their lives.”
Bank One Keeper of the Dream Award Recipient
When she wanted someone to talk about the historical significance of African-American Muslims in America, Muhammad helped recruit Imam W. Deen Mohammed to campus. Her dedication also is put to good use through her service as a Connections peer leader, orientation assistant, secretary for OU’s Muslim Student Association and Student Program Board committee member. A peer mentor for the Center for Multicultural Initiatives, Muhammad counsels four students each week in one-on-one sessions, monitoring their academic and social progress and building strong leaders.
“I never imagined I would receive such an honor,” Muhammad said. “This is proof that if you work diligently for a cause, people will recognize it. Having Mrs. King here with us inspires me to do even more.”
William Beaumont Hospitals Keeper of the Dream Award Recipient
As one of only four minority students in the School of Nursing junior class, Seal has made incredible strides in promoting leadership, cultural awareness and success among her peers. She is a member of OU’s Student Nurses Association, public relations chair of the Association of Black Students, a peer mentor for the Center for Multicultural Initiatives and a member of Oakland’s Leadership Institute. She also is a member of the SON Dean’s Circle and is a research assistant to the dean, working on ways to decrease youth obesity in inner cities.
“I know I can make a positive impact on the nursing profession,” Seal said. “This recognition will help me continue on the path of encouraging diversity in the field and, upon graduation, providing unbiased care for all.”