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MLK ‘Building the Dream’ award winners named at WSSU

Award winners stand with award

The 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. ‘Building the Dream’ winners are (from left): Wake Forest’s Brook Davis and Kayla Heilig, and WSSU’s LaMonica Sloan Wilhelmi and A’Daria Moffett. (Wake Forest University Photo) 

LaMonica Sloan Wilhelmi ‘94, director Career Development Services, and student A’Daria Moffett have been named Winston-Salem State University’s (WSSU) 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. “Building the Dream” award winners.

Annually, the awards are presented to a faculty or staff member and a student from both WSSU and Wake Forest University who exemplify King’s qualities and promote diversity within the community.

This marks the 19th year that WSSU and Wake Forest have celebrated MLK’s legacy with events during the holiday weekend. The celebration is the longest running partnership between the two Winston-Salem-based universities.

Wilhelmi, a WSSU alumna, was recognized for her leadership and passion for student success. She has led WSSU’s Career Development Services since 1998. Through her dedication, WSSU ranks no. 1 in the University of North Carolina System for graduates receiving jobs after graduation, according to the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

Moffett, a junior mass communications major from Charlotte, was recognized for the positive impact he has had on WSSU students. As a freshman, Moffett walked around campus with a handmade cardboard sign saying “free hugs.” As a junior, his effort has grown into a student organization, The Free Hugs Foundation, that holds regular events on campus that focus on the mental wellness of students and has a growing social media presence.

Wake Forest’s winners were Brook Davis, associate professor of theatre and dance, and Kayla Heilig, a senior sociology major.

Faculty, staff and students at Wake Forest and WSSU submit “Building the Dream” award nominations for their respective universities and a committee of representatives from each school selects the winners. The recipients were recognized at an annual banquet celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. held at Wake Forest on Monday, Jan. 21.

MLK Keynote Address

Angela Rye, a CNN political commentator and principal and CEO of IMPACT Strategies, delivered the  keynote address at K.R. Williams Auditorium.

During her speech, Rye pointed to statistics that show African Americans in North Carolina are twice as likely to live in poverty and twice as likely to be food insecure.

"What kind of radical action will you take to ensure our forward movement, to ensure our collective freedom, so we can stand on common ground and embrace our collective voices?" Rye asked the audience of about 1,100. "If you want to honor Dr. King's legacy, don't just fight for equality, fight for equity to change those numbers that we talked about in North Carolina."

The keynote also included music from the WSSU University Choir and from the Wake Forest and WSSU gospel choirs.

Other MLK weekend events included the 10th annual MLK Day of Service Read-In, which was held at Wake Forest, and the annual MLK Basketball Tournament, which was co-hosted at WSSU and Wake Forest. 

MORE: Photos from the 10th annual MLK Day of Service Read-In

About Winston-Salem State University
Winston-Salem State University fosters 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. Founded in 1892, 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. 

Angela Rye speaks from podium

Angela Rye, a CNN political commentator, delivers the keynote address at K.R. Williams Auditorium.

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