WSSU honors three with MLK ‘Building the Dream’ awards

From left: Wake Forest's Dr. Sherri Lawson Clark and Jenny Vu Mai; and WSSU's William Gibson, Jessica Lee Johnson and Dana Walker.

Dana Walker, coordinator of community service, and students William Gibson and Jessica Lee Johnson have been named Winston-Salem State University’s (WSSU) 2018 Martin Luther King Jr. “Building the Dream” award winners.

For 18 years, WSSU and Wake Forest University have collaborated to host events honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The awards are annually presented to faculty, staff, administrators and students from WSSU and Wake Forest University who exemplify King’s qualities and promote diversity within the community.

Award winners

Dana Walker, coordinator of community service at WSSU, provides oversight for WSSU’s Project GIVE, Getting Involved through Volunteer Efforts program. During the 2016-17 academic year, 2,144 students volunteered 42,328 hours to local agencies, an economic impact of $937,158. Walker recently received the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award for his work matching members of the WSSU community with non-profit organizations.

William Gibson, a sophomore political science major from Charlotte, has been twice elected as president of his class (freshman and sophomore). Gibson is one of 62 students nationwide named to the 2017-18 class of White House HBCU All-Stars. At age 6, he and his father immigrated to the United States from Liberia.

Jessica Lee Johnson, a senior psychology major from Greensboro. She is a member of the University Choir and the Burke Singers. To support herself at WSSU, she works late at night and on weekends at the library. She has hearing only in one ear and was unable to speak as a young child.

Wake Forest University presented “Building the Dream” awards to Sherri Lawson Clark, assistant professor of cultural anthropology, and Jenny Vu Mai, a senior sociology major.

About the award and the MLK Day Celebration

Faculty, staff and students at WSSU and Wake Forest submit “Building the Dream” award nominations for their respective universities, and a committee of representatives from each school selects winners. The recipients were recognized at an annual banquet celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. held at WSSU on Jan. 22.

Events also included: the annual MLK Read-In and the 18th annual Keynote Speech with author, speaker and Georgetown University sociology professor Michael Eric Dyson. About 1,500 people attended the keynote at Wake Forest’s Wait Chapel on Jan. 22.

About Winston-Salem State University

For 125 years, Winston-Salem State University has fostered the creative thinking, analytical problem-solving, and depth of character needed to transform the world. Rooted in liberal education, WSSU’s curriculum prepares students to be thought leaders who have the skills and knowledge needed to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. WSSU is a historically Black constituent institution of the University of North Carolina with a rich tradition of contributing to the social, cultural, intellectual, and economic growth of North Carolina, the region and beyond. Guided by the motto, “Enter to Learn. Depart to Serve,” WSSU develops leaders who advance social justice by serving the world with compassion and commitment.

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