Students, faculty and staff who exercised cultural sensitivity, helped promote diversity and inclusion, and improved the campus climate were recognized at the annual Edgar Beckham Social Justice Awards ceremony held April 23. The event brought together generations of alumni, students, faculty and staff to celebrate the tenets that make Wesleyan diverse.
Originally called the Edgar Beckham Helping Hand Awards when it was founded in 2013, the awards were created in honor of Edgar Beckham, the first African-American Dean of the College at Wesleyan University and a tireless advocate for social justice.
“The ceremony is designed to highlight those faculty, students, staff, and Middletown community members that are doing excellent work in the Wes community, whether that be in the classroom, in the lab, the studio, or anywhere else on campus,” said Khalilah Lushiku ’16, a member of the Social Justice Awards planning committee. “The ceremony draws a pretty diverse crowd, as there are awards honoring athletes, environmentalists, freshmen, seniors, and students involved in the arts and sciences.”
Wesleyan alumna Leila Buck ’99 delivered the keynote address. She also was the recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award.
Other award recipients included:
Nebiyu Daniel ’18 — Excellence in Community Partnerships
Cassia Patel ’17 — Excellence in Environmental Justice
Nisha Grewal ’17 — Excellence in the Sciences
Jonah Toussaint ’17 — Excellence in the Arts
Henry Martellier ’19 — Foot in the Door (Freshman) Award
Rajaa Elidrissi ’16 — Senior Legacy Award
Casey Smith ’17, Cole Phillips ’16 and Sophie Zinser ’16 — Campus Inspiration Awards.
And Lori Gruen, the William Griffin Professor of Philosophy, professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, professor of environmental studies — Excellence in Mentorship
The awards are sponsored by the Administrators and Faculty of Color Alliance; African American Studies Program; Alumni of Color Council; Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, the Office of Equity and Inclusion; the Center for the Arts; Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department; Ujamaa; Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life; Student Activities and Leadership Development; the Wesleyan Green Fund; the Edgar Beckham Fund; Office of Residential Life; Psychology Department; Office of Religious and Spiritual Life; Office of Equity and Inclusion and the Student Budget Committee.
See additional photos below: (Photos by Caroline Kravitz ’19)