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Celebrating Diversity

Approximately 112 students who have compiled cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher, and an additional 20 students who have demonstrated exemplary co-curricular engagement across campus, were recognized at Eastern's first Inclusive Excellence Student Award Ceremony in May. The award ceremony recognized the academic, campus-wide and personal success of African, Latino/a, Asian and Native American students at Eastern.

"Saluting the academic achievements of more than 100 students of color today, and the contributions they and other students are making to enrich the cultural diversity of this campus is not only a way to congratulate the students receiving this recognition, but it is a message to everyone on our campus and beyond - we are proud of the achievements and contributions of today's awardees, because they deserve it, and because it reminds us of our core value of inclusion," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez as she acknowledged the recipients.

Latoya Smith '06, producer of multimedia content for Black Enterprise magazine, delivered the keynote address.

Julisa de los Santos, an Eastern residence hall director; John Torres, president of the Bridgeport Caribe Youth Leaders (BCYL); and Eastern student Federica Bucca '13 received the University's 2013 Cesar Chavez Distinguished Service Awards on April 24. The Cesar Chavez Distinguished Service Award recognizes individuals who have performed extraordinary service in support of the Latin-American community by either developing or contributing to programs or activities that focus on positive development of minority youth and/or foster minority educational opportunities and advancement.

On March 20, the recipients of the Ella T. Grasso Distinguished Service Awards were announced. Isaiah Roby '13, a senior with a double major in psychology and women's and gender studies; Ann Higginbotham, professor and chair of the History Department; and Ruth Washington, former professor of the University of Connecticut's Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, were honored. The award recognizes leaders who have made contributions towards advancing women's rights and issues of gender equality in memory of former Connecticut Governor Ella T. Grasso.

Eastern student Soely Barros '13, a senior majoring in Spanish and social work; Indira Petoskey, assistant dean of the School Continuing Education and the Honorable Connecticut Supreme Court Justice Lubbie Harper Jr. were recognized with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Awards at a reception on Feb. 27 in the J. Eugene Smith Library. Actress and poet Billie Jean Young delivered the keynote address. 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.

Eastern's Intercultural Center hosted its second annual Black and White Ball on Feb. 28 in the Betty R. Tipton Room in the Student Center. The celebration was held to commemorate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Fannie Brayboy '08 delivered the keynote address, telling students "You are responsible for your actions and you alone. You can be whoever and whatever you say you are . . . Once you realize what an amazing gift you have in your ability to dream, to have hopeful ideas, your capacity for change and success can be endless. You are the master of your own destiny."

During the event, the Intercultural Center also accepted donations for the No Freeze Shelter and the First Baptist Church.