MIT President Reif’s Call for Nominations: MLK Leadership Award

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To the members of the MIT community:

Every November, I routinely send a letter seeking nominations for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Leadership Award. The danger with any routine is that we cease to think about its meaning.

The MLK awards celebrate individuals or groups whose service to our community embodies the spirit of Dr. King’s work, and demonstrates exceptional integrity, leadership, creativity and positive outcomes.

In recent weeks, we have seen campuses across the country struggle to resolve profound internal tensions, in pursuit of a community that offers equity for everyone. At MIT, we are exploring those topics, too.

How we live and work together as a community matters a great deal to me. Along with the rest of MIT’s leadership, I want to make sure that everyone who earns a place at MIT finds a welcoming and supportive environment here – a sense of home.

In that spirit, I would like us now to seize our annual opportunity to celebrate those who lead us in this work, in keeping with Dr. King’s ideals.

I encourage you to consider nominating an individual or group for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award. Nomination letters should be sent by December 21, 2015 to  You can find more detail below.

The awards will be presented on Wednesday, February 10, 2016, at MIT’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. gathering.

I hope to see many of you there.



L. Rafael Reif

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award

The Award is given annually to students, alumni, staff, and faculty whose service embodies the spirit of Dr. King’s work.

Who is eligible?

MIT alumni/ae, undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff
are eligible for nomination for this award. Both individuals and groups, including living groups and student and professional associations, may be considered.

Service to the community is defined in the broadest sense and includes academic, research, religious, and secular contributions in which integrity, leadership, creativity, and positive outcome are apparent.

How do I submit a nomination?

If you wish to nominate a person or organization, please submit your letter to by December 21, 2015.

Members of the MLK celebration planning committee will select the awardees, and recipients will be announced at the celebratory event on February 10.

Who serves on the MLK Celebration Planning Committee (MLK CPC)?

  • Acia Adams-Heath, Senior Staff Accountant, Sponsored Accounting
  • Edmund Bertschinger, Institute Community and Equity Officer
  • La-Tarri Canty, Director, Multicultural Programs, Student Activities Office
  • Shannan Clarke, Associate Director, Regional Programs East, MIT Alumni Association
  • Sharon Clarke, Senior HR consultant, Information Systems & Technology
  • Phillip Clay, Professor, Urban Studies and Planning
  • Sally Haslanger, MLK CPC Faculty Co-chair, Professor, Linguistics and Philosophy
  • Eboney Hearn, Assistant Dean, Diversity Initiatives, Office of the Dean for Graduate Education
  • William Kindred, MLK CPC Staff Co-chair, Administrative staff, Lincoln Lab
  • Helen Elaine Lee, Director of Women’s and Gender Studies, Comparative Media Studies/Writing
  • Deborah Liverman, Director, Career Services, MIT Global Education and Career Development
  • Paul Parravano, Co-director, Office of Government and Community Relations, Office of Executive Vice President & Treasurer
  • Zina Queen, Administrative Assistant II, Chemistry
  • Mareena Robinson G, Nuclear Science and Engineering
  • Tobie Weiner, Undergraduate Administrator, Political Science
  • John Wuestneck, Chaplain

When will the awards be presented?

The awards will be presented on Wednesday, February 10, 2016, at the 42nd anniversary celebration of MIT’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. event and program.

Where should I turn with questions?

If you have questions, Ms. Tobie Weiner would be pleased to assist. She can be reached at