Five win MLK Leadership Awards

Five win MLK Leadership Awards

February 22, 2008 | MIT News Office

Freshman Tarick Walton gave a rousing rendition of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech at the 34th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration breakfast, held at Walker Memorial on Thursday, Feb. 21.

Five members of the MIT community have won Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Awards for 2008 in recognition of service that reflects the late civil rights leader's ideals and vision.

Winners Zina Queen, administrative assistant in the George R. Harrison Spectroscopy Laboratory, Ali S. Wyne, a senior majoring in management, and Lorlene Hoyt, assistant professor in urban studies and planning, were nominated by colleagues and selected by the MLK Planning Committee.

This year, the MLK Committee also presented MLK Leadership Awards to Physics Professor Michael S. Feld SB '63, SM '63, PhD '67 and former Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education Leo Osgood Jr.

Chancellor Phillip Clay PhD '75 recognized the winners at the MLK Breakfast Celebration on Feb. 21.

Queen was nominated by her colleagues, including a former MLK Leadership Award winner, for her commitment to fairness for all MIT employees and her willingness to volunteer on committees charged with improving the quality of work life for support staff.

"Receiving the MLK Leadership Award means the world to me," Queen said. "We live and grow together as a community. When I use those words, I don't just mean black and white. I'm speaking about diversity with different ethnic backgrounds, diversity of gender and, most of all, diversity here at MIT as an institution of higher learning. Yes, I too have a dream."

Fellow students cited Wyne, vice president of MIT's Undergraduate Association and a prolific opinion writer for The Tech, for embodying King's spirit and qualities of leadership.

Wyne has worked on campus activities to promote awareness of international development and the ethical implications of technology; he is engaged in interfaith dialogue on campus, and he is an organizer of the Global Poverty Initiative, an undergraduate student project, they noted.

For Wyne, celebrating King's vision means celebrating ordinary and extraordinary people. "The civil rights movement began as a conversation between two ordinary people. Had it not been for thousands who were harassed, beaten and killed, the world may never have known what King's dream was," he said.

As director of the MIT@Lawrence program, Hoyt has broadened DUSP students' opportunities for on-site, practical work in Lawrence, Mass. Nominating materials cited Hoyt's leadership in working across racial and ethnic lines to bring a wide spectrum of MIT resources to an impoverished community.

"I am honored to accept this award and do so on behalf of the residents and civic leaders in the city of Lawrence as well as countless students, staff and faculty throughout the Institute who are the lifeblood of MIT@Lawrence and the embodiment of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s ideals," Hoyt said.

The MLK Committee cited Feld and Osgood for their co-leadership of the MLK Committee over the past decade and their instrumental roles in establishing the MLK Visiting Professor program.

Feld, professor of physics and director of the spectroscopy laboratory, is a former chair of MIT's Equal Opportunity Committee. He began his teaching career at MIT in 1968.

Osgood received BS and MS degrees from Northeastern University in 1970. He came to MIT in 1977, serving as head basketball coach and in various senior leadership roles, including director of the Office of Minority Education, until his retirement.

The MLK Leadership Awards are selected annually by the MLK Planning Committee on behalf of the Campus Committee on Race and Diversity.

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