Three Receive Dr. MLK Jr. Awards
January 18, 2011
On Monday during the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Dessert Reception, the Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership and Diversity Awards were presented to three individuals who exemplify the character and life of Dr. King.
Darrell “Rich” Parr, a senior communication major of Wellsville, OH received the student award for his ability to promote racial harmony while advocating for social justice. Rather than questioning diversity, Parr explores it.
Parr is an active member of the Dynamo, WRMU and the Black Student Union (BSU). As a member of the BSU and a Caucasian, this is a clear indication that he wants to break racial boundaries and further promote racial harmony.
“His efforts cannot be viewed as a task, but rather actions that come naturally in everyday life. He has stopped people in the middle of conversation to correct their racial slurs and demonstrated personal disapproval before graciously continuing the conversation with them,” said Katie Kelly, a classmate of Parr’s and senior middle childhood education major of Sharon, PA. “I have seen him remain calm, cool and collected in the midst of a heated debate over racial disputes, and he never once backed down, even against a friend. He does not stand up for the popular vote; he stands up for what is just. For that, I admire and respect Rich.”
Jilian Hinton, another classmate of Parr’s, described him as one who doesn’t see color. He sees people instead, and he accepts them for who they are.
Aside from Kelly and Hinton, Parr was nominated by Dr. Len Cooper, assistant professor of communication and Barbara Lyons, secretary in academic affairs and director of Inspirational Voices of Praise (IVOP).
Faculty and Staff Award
Lorie Miller, director of community educational outreach at Mount Union, was presented with the faculty and staff award on Monday evening.
“Rare is it in this day and age for an individual to do good work without getting recognition for his or her effort and success,” said Heather Eichner, Ohio Campus Compact AmeriCorps*VISTA in Miller’s nomination letter. “We are quick to honor and celebrate those who touch lives, create change and act as a positive role model for all. Yet on occasion, there is a person who does this so effortlessly and naturally, that we don’t stop and say ‘thank you’ or acknowledge his or her work. Lorie Miller is this person.”
Miller has been directing the Dowling Mentor Program on campus and in the Alliance City school district for 20 years. The program is a collaboration between Mount Union students and middle and high school students in the Alliance City Schools, and is designed to enrich young students’ lives by pairing them with mentors for tutoring, cultural, recreational and community service activities. Additionally, she has been involved in Mount Union campus events such as Trash to Treasure Recycling Sale, National Neighborhood Day, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and the Community Service Coffee Hour.
“Her strong sense of purpose, her no nonsense style of getting things done and her ability to bring people together makes her one of the best unsung assets at the University,” added Eichner.
Dave Hill received the community award. Hill is a leader for the Youth Bowling League and serves on the board of directors of QUEST Services. He helped to begin The Arid Club, and is a trustee for the Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church. Additionally, he is a beloved father and grandfather who has been a trusted leader, friend and teacher to many in the Alliance community.
When nominating Hill, Dr. Peter Schneller, co-chair of the Department of Education and professor of education at Mount Union, said “Dave is a quiet leader who has done a great deal to help people regardless of race, ethnicity, social economic status, mental ability, etc. He’s promoted racial harmony through his deep understanding of the power of forgiveness and redemption. His advocacy for social justice is demonstrated by his ability to offer unassuming strength to the weak and less fortunate.”