Awards recognize academic achievement for minority students

Christina Stavale

E. Timothy Moore, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, addresses the crowd at the Black United Students Ebony Achievement Awards last night. Moore made an impact as he stood behind the statement of “never stop learning.” Daniel Doherty | D

Credit: DKS Editors

The Alpha Kappa Mu National Honor Society once only existed in historically black universities.

But when Francis Dorsey, now the interim chair of the department of Pan-African studies, came to Kent State after having positive experiences with the honorary society at Morgan State University, he petitioned to the national organization to establish a chapter here. The society, which recognizes scholastic excellence among blacks, was then successfully established in 1981.

“We helped to make history,” Dorsey said. “When that chapter was established, other universities followed suit.”

Before that, Dorsey said blacks weren’t being recognized for academics. But last night, at the 27th annual Alpha Kappa Mu induction ceremony, 26 men and women took their place among other scholars.

These students were of junior and senior standings who achieved, for undergraduates, a 3.3 GPA and for graduates, a 3.7.

Last night also marked Black United Students’ 32nd annual Ebony Achievement Awards, which recognized minority students achieving higher than a 3.0 GPA.

Chatiera Ray, sophomore fashion merchandising major, received one of these awards and said the ceremony meant a lot to her.

“It’s very important and it’s very significant to minorities to show that we’re not average,” she said. “You can achieve any goal if you stay focused and have a positive mindset.”

BUS programmer Ashley Tolliver said these award ceremonies are important to recognize the academic achievement that is often overlooked by sports and entertainment.

“College is a learning experience,” she said. “This showcases the intellectual side.”

E. Timothy Moore, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, encouraged students to embrace the knowledge they would need to live in the real world.

“You think that what you know is all you need to know,” he said to more than a hundred students and families who gathered before him. “But you all are going to need to find solutions to solve the problems of today.”

During last night’s ceremony, current BUS executive board members also passed on their leadership to next year’s board.

President Sasha Parker spoke to them about her experiences with the organization. She said everything she’s been through with BUS – the good and the bad – has shaped her character.

“I charge you with the task of being better,” she said to them. “Never be afraid to take risks, no matter what opposition you face.”

Tolliver, next year’s president, said she hopes BUS will be able to move past any racial tensions that happened this year and host positive programming.

“I want the new e-board members to realize that BUS is a humbling process,” she said.

Contact minority affairs reporter Christina Stavale at [email protected].