At the convocation honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Lehigh President Alice P. Gast drew on the words of a young King, still a senior at Morehouse College, who reflected on the ultimate value of education.
King wrote: “Education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”
Gast told those gathered in Lamberton Hall Thursday for the annual event, “If we are serious about awakening ourselves fully to the world around us and taking responsibility for the world, it is within our power to do it.
“We are all called to make a difference in the world,” she added. “We are all called to do a better job than anybody else could. We are all called to take responsibility. It is a fitting way to honor Dr. King’s legacy by following his example of service. Today, we honor several members of the community who are doing just that.”
Additional commentary was offered by Ayanna Wilcher, assistant director for diversity and career development, and Vaughn Brown ’11, a mechanical engineering major who heads the campus chapter of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. In his comments, Brown urged listeners to embrace King’s message of reconciliation.
“Dr. King had a vision for America, a place where former slaves and former slave owners could one day sit town at the table of brotherhood,” Brown said. “We cannot achieve our potential as a university until we achieve that level of reconciliation. It will take effort, but the reward in the end will be well worth it.”
Awards for service
The convocation concluded with the presentation of awards to those who have distinguished themselves in the service of the university and neighboring communities.
The Percy Hughes Award for Scholarship, Humanity and Social Change was presented to Michelle Vella, a doctoral student in COE Counseling Psychology program, by Iveta Silova, a Frank Hook assistant professor and chair of the Percy Hughes Awards Committee.
Silova commended Vella’s leadership and passionate commitment to transformative activism, as well as her contributions to Lehigh’s Council for Equity and Community, the Lehigh Valley Hospital AIDS Activity Office, Lehigh University’s Office of Multiculturalism, and NGO Geriatric Pakistan.
Wilcher, who delivered opening remarks, was presented with one of the staff awards by Quiana Daniel, a residence life coordinator. The other staff award was presented to Adrienne Yurack, a secretary in the admissions office, by Majed Dergham, director of diversity recruitment in admissions.
Other honorees recognized at the event included:
Student Award Recipient: Lauren Merikas ’11, psychology major
Presented by: Jess Manno, assistant dean for leadership and development in the Dean of Students office
Student Organization Award Recipient: Intervarsity Christian Fellowship
Presented by: Cleveland McCray, manager of academic services in Athletics
Business Award Recipient: Merck
Presented by: Silagh White, administrative director of ArtsLehigh
Faculty Award Recipient: Dr. Floyd Beachum, associate professor of education and human services
Presented by: Courtney Jones, assistant director of multicultural affairs in the Dean of Students office
Photos by Douglas Benedict