Willimantic NAACP Presents President’s Award to Stacey Close

The Windham\Willimantic Branch of the NAACP  recently presented Stacey Close, associate vice president of equity and diversity at Eastern, its first ever President’s Award.

Willimantic/Windham NAACP President Leah Ralls, right, presents Stacey Close, associate vice president of equity and diversity at Eastern, the NAACP’s first ever President’s Award.

The award ceremony took place during the NAACP’s First Annual Freedom Fund dinner, held at the Windham Club in North Windham, Connecticut. The award is given “to an individual whose outstanding participation and contributions provide essential support to the Windham\Willimantic Branch’s growth and success.”

NAACP President Leah Ralls remembered how warm Close was, where he lent a helping hand to the Willimantic branch of the NAACP during a campus meeting between herself and Eastern President Elsa Núñez.

Close later introduced Ralls to Ms. Morgane Russell, president of Eastern’s Black Student Union, who was instrumental in assisting the branch with bringing the “Community Conversation on Race” to campus last fall. Ralls said Close has been a mentor to her and her organization on how to build the local branch and find and use resources. She expressed great satisfaction in every discussion she has had with Close, describing them all “inspiring, educating and up lifting.”

Before assuming his current position at Eastern, Close served as Professor of History for more than two decades, and, in 1998, the Hartford Courant named him one of “Connecticut’s Hottest Professors.” He has served as keynote speaker at numerous events, written several chapters in books, and has a forthcoming coming book on Blacks in Hartford, culminating more than a decade of research.