Ella T. Grasso Awards

Wednesday | March 25, 2015 | 3 pm | Student Center, Theatre

The Ella T. Grasso Distinguished Service Awards recognize members of the campus and local community whose actions promote women’s rights and gender equality. The Keynote Speaker for this year’s ceremony is Attorney Michelle Cruz who, with over twenty years of experience, has worked with crime victims in a variety of roles and most notably as Connecticut’s Second State Victim Advocate. This year’s award recipients are: Erika Sanchez, Dr. Cara Bergstrom-Lynch, and Ms. Lee Ellen Terry. We asked what they think their legacies will be:

Student Award Recipient: Erika Sanchez
“My legacy is to encourage others to embrace their culture and take pride in their roots. I aim to honor women who have silently contributed to history. I am because they were. Lastly, I want to make mi gente (my Mexican people) and my mom proud, so they know that all their sacrifices were not made in vain. I want to uplift, support and encourage them in any way I can.”

Faculty Award Recipient: Dr. Cara Bergstrom-Lynch
“My legacy, on a professional level is to inspire my students to practice and take what I’ve tried to instill about diversity, activism, and critical consciousness, into the world. On a personal level, my daughters are my legacy. Everything I teach them about, that relates to gender, women’s rights, LGBT rights, and social justice goes back to how I want the world to be for them.”

Community Award Recipient: Lee Ellen Terry
“My legacy is to honor those in my past who have loved and inspired me to be an example for her children, grandchildren, relatives and friends — to continue the work that punctuated my career, for economic well-being, fairness and justice.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Service Awards 2015

There are many individuals on campus and in our community who work tirelessly for the good of others. They commit their time and demonstrate a commitment to diversity, inclusion, and civic engagement. Unfortunately, the efforts of these dedicated and compassionate individuals often go unrecognized. That is why Eastern Connecticut State University presents the Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Service Award – to honor individuals who best exemplify the teachings and example of Dr. King. This year we are excited to present three awards – one to an Eastern faculty person, one to a student and one to a community member.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others.” – MLK

Community Recipient
W. Reggie Hales is publisher of the Inquiring News Connecticut newspaper. Hales is also a professional photojournalist and advocate for small businesses and civil justice for people of color. For more than four decades, he has showcased success stories from different minority communities. Hales is a distinguished media consultant and mentor to students interested in journalism. A dedicated husband, father and grandfather, he also serves as president of the Hartford Enterprise Zone Business Association.

Faculty Recipient
Anthony Aidoo is a professor of mathematics at Eastern Connecticut State University. He received his Ph.D. in Mathematical Sciences from the University of Vermont. Growing up poor in Ghana, West Africa, the son of illiterate parents, Aidoo could not afford to attend high school. However, after training to be a teacher, he studied at home to gain admission to the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. Aidoo’s hard work as an undergraduate student paid off when he received several offers for full assistantships to study for his Ph.D. in mathematics in the United States. When he is not teaching or doing research at Eastern, Aidoo volunteers as an advisor to students in his native Ghana. He also volunteers as a tutor to minority students studying for their GED in the Windham Neighborhood Renovations and Training Program.

Student Recipient
Jonah Craggett is a first-generation student from New Haven. During the past four years, Craggett has dedicated his time and energy to spreading awareness of diversity issues and inclusion to the Eastern campus community. He serves as vice president of the Black Student Union and is a third-year resident assistant in Noble Hall. A talented writer and speaker, Craggett wants to pursue a career in journalism. Through community outreach with New Haven’s churches and city administrators, he seeks to reestablish New Haven’s urban core as a flourishing part of the greater New Haven community.

Keynote Speaker
Siobhan Carter-David is an assistant professor in the Department of History at Southern Connecticut State University, teaching in the areas of fashion and beauty studies, and African American, urban and contemporary U.S. histories. Her research explores the politics of racial uplift as represented in the fashion instruction of African American print media, as well as American fashion, beauty culture and the politics of presentation. Carter-David has written and given numerous talks on hip-hop, culture and clothing, magazine culture and urban style. As a public historian, she has worked with museum curators on projects involving various facets of African American cultural history. She is currently working on a book manuscript, “Issuing the Black Wardrobe: Fashion and Anti-Fashion in Post-Soul Publications.”

Special Thanks To
Candice Deal, Courtney Callaway, Emma Blandford, Ken Bedini, Chartwells, Alexis Tribble-Bryant, Carlie Bermani-McCan, Jessica McDonald, Alex Andre, Olivia Beaullan, Olvie Saint-Fleur, Alycia Bright Holland, and James Holland