Eastern Connecticut State University's 2013 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Award participants (left to right): author and poet Billie Jean Young; Eastern student Soely Barros; Connecticut Supreme Court Justice Lubbie Harper Jr.; Indira Petoskey, assistant dean of the School Continuing Education; and Eastern President Elsa Núñez.
Eastern presented the 2013 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Award to senior Soely Barros; Indira Petoskey, assistant dean of the School Continuing Education; and Connecticut Supreme Court Justice Lubbie Harper Jr., at a reception on Feb. 27 in the J. Eugene Smith Library. The awards recognize members of the campus community and community-at-large whose actions demonstrate distinguished service in promoting the ideals of King, and to further the goals of diversity and social equality.
Actor and poet Billie Jean Young delivered the keynote address. She encouraged the audience to love and demonstrate love through unselfish commitment. "Love has the capacity to transform humanity," she said. Some of the greatest accomplishments in the world have been performed by people who demonstrated "love with its working clothes on."
"Tonight's award recipients help us highlight Dr. King's legacy, one that is an enduring message of love, justice and unity; a dream not yet fully realized," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez, as she acknowledged the recipients for their work in relation to King's legacy.
Barros '13, a double major in Spanish and social work carrying a 4.0 GPA in Spanish and a 3.4 GPA in Social Work, serves as the president of the African Club of Eastern and is also a bilingual tutor for Eastern's Dual College Enrollment Program. Barros also works in the Study Abroad Office in the School of Continuing Education, and volunteers as an intern at the North Windham Elementary School, where she mentors 12 elementary schoolchildren.
Petoskey, affectionately known as "Dr. P," oversees international students, global field courses, non-credit professional programs, and the national student exchange and study abroad programs. She also participates in the Hartford Immigrant Advisory Group, and conducts English and English as a Second Language (ESL) tutoring sessions.
Harper was nominated to the position of Superior Court Judge in 1997. In 2011, he joined the Connecticut Supreme Court. "As I reflect on the significance of this award, I am reminded of Dr. King's dream and admiration for our nation. I am reminded that we are still chasing the dream."