MLK Leadership and Diversity Awards Presented

January 30, 2014

ALLIANCE, Ohio – The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership and Diversity Awards were presented at the University of Mount Union on Thursday, January 23 to four members of the Mount Union and Alliance communities who embody the values exemplified by Dr. King.

Selection for the MLK Award was based on the following criteria:

  • Promoting racial harmony
  • Advocating for social justice
  • Collaborating with groups, offices, churches and/or organizations
  • Demonstrating sustained commitment to diversity
  • Fostering inclusiveness and an appreciation of differences

The following are this year’s award recipients:

Student Award
Rachael Hagey, an early childhood education major of Mentor, OH, received the award for her dedication and commitment to diversity.

Hagey is an active member of the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), Association of Women Students (AWS), Association of International Students (AIS), the Diversity Council and a founding member of See The Ability Not Disability (STAND) and is involved in a number of other student organizations such as CHOICES and SNEA. For her incredible dedication, Hagey was nominated for the award by Michelle Gaffney, associate dean of students at Mount Union.

In the words of Gaffney, Hagey is an advocate, and as such recognizes the power of her voice to stand up for those who sometimes can’t stand up for themselves or simply shouldn’t have to. 

“She is someone you want on your side, because she is absolutely going to stand up every time for what is right,” Gaffney said. 

Faculty and Staff Awards
Reverend Marty CashBurless, Chaplain, has been a valued member the Mount Union community for more than 22 years. Also nominated by Michelle Gaffney, CashBurless is receiving this award because she is not only an educator on this campus, is an advocate for social justice.

Almost all of CashBurless’ sermons include teachings from the Talmud, the Koran and many other religious texts as well as the Bible. CashBurless’ sermons show that while Mount Union is a Methodist institution, diversity is accepted and welcomed.

CashBurless is also an involved coordinator of the MLK celebrations and an advisor for the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity.

Richard Jackson, assistant dean of students and director of Diversity and Inclusion at Mount Union, was also presented with a staff award. Several current and former students shared why Jackson was deserving of the award. According to one student, Jackson has been a “model for success in a society that seems to overlook men with true character.”

“I thank you for being the coach in my corner when the fight seemed done, thanks for being my big brother when it seemed I had no family, and thanks for removing the blinds from my eyes and allowing me to see that in order to change the universe you must lead with a mind that is diverse,” the student said.

Community Award
Paul Dykshoorn, minister and founder of Men's Challenge of Alliance, received the community member award.

Dykshoorn was nominated by Abigail Honaker, assistant director of the Regula Center for Public Service and Civic Engagement for his dedication to the improvement of the community.

With Men’s Challenge, he is helping men learn to better provide for their families. He is currently working with Feed My Sheep Ministries and has helped teach Mount Union students about the importance of role modeling and mentoring in enhancing the community.


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