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Ohio University announces first Brown v. Board of Education Diversity Award winners

ATHENS, Ohio (May 19, 2004) -- Ohio University's Brown v. Board of Education Commemoration Committee announced the winners of the inaugural Diversity Awards on May 17, the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision. Ohio University President Robert Glidden presented the awards to the recipient. Dean of Honors Tutorial College Ann Fidler hosted the ceremony.

undefinedFrancine Childs and Sandra Haggerty were co-recipients of the faculty award, William "Bill" Allen was presented the staff award and the Student Diversity Task Force received the student award.

"The clear theme among this year's winners is student orientation," Glidden said. "All of the awardees have a passion for serving students and are focused on student involvement and success."

The Diversity Awards were created in three categories, faculty, staff and students, by the Brown v. Board of Education Commemoration Committee to recognize individuals or organizations that have been successful in promoting diversity on campus. Award recipients are given a plaque and $1,000 to support their efforts in improving diversity in the community.

Allen, who joined the university in September 1969, has worked in University College for more than 30 years as assistant to the dean, assistant dean, acting associate dean and associate dean. He was honored for his many years of service to Ohio University, particularly in the area of minority student retention. From 1979 to 1981, he worked in Washington, D.C., in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Education as an expert consultant, policy analyst and education policy fellow for the White House Initiative on Black College.

"Brown v. Board of Education represents a dream that can be, could be and ought to be," Allen said. "We know what needs to be done, the question is why we don't do it? Who will have the courage and the will to expunge racism from the minds and hearts of this country and its people? It should be us. If not us then who? If not now, then when?"

undefinedChilds, who has worked as an associate professor or professor in African American Studies at Ohio University since 1974, is one of the most well-known and active faculty members on campus. As a member of a multitude of local and national committees and professional organizations, she has established herself as a mother figure to many people in the Athens community. She has received numerous awards and honors during her career, including being named one of Purpose Magazine's Women of Distinction in 1999. She received an honorary alumni award from Ohio University in 1997 and the Omni Award from the International Black Women's Congress in 2000.

"My goal has always been to make a difference in the lives of other individuals," Childs said. "Even when I was a little girl, I tried to lift the downtrodden and cause folks to come together. I tell students what my Grandpa told me, 'Don't say you can't, because you can. You can do anything that you want to do that is within your power.'"

Haggerty has been an associate professor in the Ohio University E.W. Scripps School of Journalism since 1979. From 1987 to 1994, she served as an assistant dean in the College of Communication. She said she is most proud of her efforts in the area of journalism and an education project with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. She was commended for helping many students reach great achievements in education and life.

undefined"I am very pleased and proud to have been awarded this honor," Haggerty said. "Of all the awards that I've won, this one is the most meaningful. When I was growing up, old folks told me that each generation stands on the shoulders of the previous generation and I've never forgotten that. Diversity is not just for black students, it's for all students."

The Student Diversity Task Force was formed in 2003 to analyze current issues, create recommendations and develop initiatives to improve the campus climate. During winter quarter, the Task Force joined Student Senate in hosting the first university-wide diversity conference. The organization is currently looking for new, creative ways to improve diversity on campus.

"The diversity conference was a stepping stone toward what we truly want to complete," said Dustin Wood, member of the Student Diversity Task Force. "It was the first step toward our goal of impacting diversity. This award is an amazing honor, but it is just the beginning of our work here at Ohio University."

The Brown v. Board of Education Commemoration Committee also gave awards to area classrooms that submitted Brown v. Board of Education projects. Karmi Holzaepfel's sixth grade class at Alexander Middle School, Sarah Danner's sixth grade art class at Federal Hocking Middle School and Scott Hall-Jones' fourth grade class at Athens East Elementary School were the winners. Each class will be presented $100 for their efforts.

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Media Contact: Public Information Coordinator Olivea Oldham, (740) 593-4944 or Olivea_Oldham@woub.pbs.org

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