End-of-Year Events Celebrate Diverse Achievements

Equal Opportunity Institute Graduation 2017

The Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity closes the academic year with old and new traditions. Read the recaps of Equal Opportunity Institute Graduation, Ebony Harlem Awards of Excellence and Lavender Graduation. Attend the Multicultural Graduation Ceremony on Thursday, May 11, 2017.

Equal Opportunity Institute Graduation

On Wednesday, May 3, the Equal Opportunity Institute (EOI) diversity and equity training program celebrated its largest graduating class to date with 94 student, faculty and staff members receiving a certificate for EOI Graduation 2017completion of ten or more workshops. Graduates who completed three or more additional workshops received special recognition at the ceremony.

Beverly Jones Williams, director of outreach and education in the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity, and Dr. Linda McCabe Smith, vice provost for institutional equity and diversity, congratulated the graduates in a ceremony in Hunt Library.

Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor of Psychology Rupert Nacoste delivered the keynote address. Nacoste spoke to the event’s theme of “Creating Change Where You Are” by hearkening back to his first experience teaching diversity workshops aboard a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier over 40 years ago. Nacoste said that he was selected as a “regular, everyday person” to help bridge differences that had led to race riots aboard the 5,000-person vessel. Those first experiences led to his lifelong work in the field of social psychology as a scholar-activist, receiving numerous recognitions, and publishing three books, the most recent being, Taking on Diversity: How We Can Move from Anxiety to Respect (Prometheus Books, 2015). Nacoste drew a parallel between his early experiences and those of the students, faculty and staff who have graduated from EOI and are now helping to improve NC State’s campus climate.

Ebony Harlem Awards

The Ebony Harlem Awards of Excellence, presented by the African American Cultural Center and Multicultural Student Affairs on Sunday, April 30, recognize NC State University students who reflect and represent through their leadership, dedication and talents the mission of the African American Cultural Center. The center’s mission is “to promote the awareness of and appreciation for the African American experience through activities and events that enhance academic excellence and strengthen cultural competence for the campus and surrounding communities”

The program began with a vocal and dance performance by Matthew Wright and Danyale Calhoun, respectively. Following the performance, Kinesha Harris, president of AASAC and co-host Alonzo Fullenwilder welcomed the audience and explained the history of the Ebony Harlem Awards of Excellence. Toni “Mama” Thorpe was in attendance and along with other elders, who granted permission to begin the program. Libations, a tribute to ancestors honoring their lives and thanking them for their work, were poured by Dr. Craig Brookins, last year’s recipient of the Mate Masie Faculty Award.

Camerian Williams delivered a compelling performance of Langston Hughes’ Let America Be America Again. Jasmine Cannon, from the Black Alumni Society, led the recognition of graduating seniors and invited NC State alumni to pin seniors and graduate students graduating this May. Following the acknowledgment of student leaders and the new officers’ installation ceremony, Dawn Morgan of the AACC invited the audience to dance, take photos and enjoy refreshments.

Ebony Harlem Awards

  • Art: Meron Habtemariam
  • Dance: Mary
  • Dramatic Performance: Jakini Kauba
  • Instrumental Music: Stevie Thompson
  • Literary Talent: Stephanie Tate
  • Vocal Music: Jordan Williams
  • Mate Masie Faculty: Dr. Blair Kelly
  • Nkonsonkonson Staff: Jasmine Cannon
  • Nash Winstead Academic Achievement: Nia Doaks
  • Toni “Mama” Thorpe Humanitarian: Amani Manning
  • Joanne Woodard Leadership: Brayndon Stafford
  • August Witherspoon Award (Distinguished Person): Achaia Dent
  • Irwin Holmes Scholarship:
  • AASAC Organization of the Year Award runner-up: Society of Afrikan American Culture
  • AASAC Organization of the Year Award winner: African Student Union

Senior Meron Habtemariam, who will graduate next week with a major in business administration with a concentration in marketing and a minor in graphic communications, received this year’s Ebony Harlem award in the Art category. Habtemarian, who worked as a design intern in the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity for the past two years and for the Union Activities Board for one year, was responsible for numerous major publicity campaigns in both offices, including Diversity Education Week in both fall and spring, Women’s History Month, Sexual Assault Awareness Month and many others.

“I’ve done a lot of work for the community, and it’s great to be recognized for all the behind-the-scenes work that I’ve done.” Regarding the Ebony Harlem Awards, she says, “It’s cool to be part of a group of people that have done so much for the university.”

Lavender Graduation

On Wednesday, April 26, the GLBT Center celebrated the achievements, contributions and graduation of twenty-six students during its annual Lavender Graduation ceremony. Speakers Dr. Linda McCabe Smith, vice provost for institutional equity and diversity; Renee Wells, director of the GLBT Center; Alaina Brennan-Kupec, activist and alumna; and John Miller IV, current student, honored and inspired participants with stories of triumph, perseverance and achieving your dreams.

This year, the GLBT Center relaunched two awards recognizing student leaders and activists, the Thomas H. Stafford Leadership Award and the Evelyn Q. Reiman Student Activism Award. The Thomas H. Stafford award recognizes a student who has demonstrated service to the GLBT community through peer education, peer mentoring, community building and/or community outreach or service. This year’s recipient was Juliette Hallen. The Evelyn Q. Reiman Activism Award recognizes a student who has worked to increase awareness about social justice issues, identify strategies for enacting change, engage peers in social justice activism and/or foster collaboration across communities to address campus or community climate concerns. This year’s recipient was John Miller IV.

Lavender Graduation