American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity Announces The 2017 Honorees for its Annual Awards

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Icons of Diversity in higher education, private industry and Major League sports are among the Award recipients at the Association’s 43rd National Conference and Annual Meeting in Scottsdale, AZ

"We are pleased to recognize these distinguished individuals and organizations for their contributions to the cause of access, equity and diversity,” said Dr. Myron Anderson, AAAED President

The American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity (AAAED), an organization of equal opportunity, diversity and affirmative action professionals, announced the 2017 honorees of its annual awards program. The awards will be conferred during the Association’s 43rd National Conference and Annual Meeting themed "We are known by the tracks that we leave.” The theme recognizes the importance of ensuring that conference attendees are developing and leaving a more diverse and inclusive legacy than they found.

The annual meeting will be held at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia, 4949 East Lincoln Drive, Scottsdale, Arizona 85253. The Awards Luncheon will take place on Thursday, June 8th at noon. "We are pleased to recognize these distinguished individuals and organizations for their contributions to the cause of access, equity and diversity,” said Dr. Myron Anderson, AAAED President. "Great honor is due to these trailblazers who have been outstanding in their fields,” added AAAED Conference Chair Rosemary Cox. The awards reception is open to the press.

The 2017 AAAED Awards Honorees are:

  • Drum Major for Justice Award: Dr. Shirley A. Jackson, President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Arthur A. Fletcher Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. Rufus Glasper, President and CEO of the League for Innovation in the Community College
  • Cesar Estrada Chavez Award: Dr. Harvey Kesselman, President, Stockton University
  • Rosa Parks Award: Dr. Bryan Brayboy and Kenja Hassan, Arizona State University
  • Edward M. Kennedy Community Service Award: Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission and Alan "AP" Powell, Chairman of the Checkered Flag Run Foundation
  • Roosevelt Thomas Champion of Diversity Award: Oklahoma State University and the Arizona Diamondbacks

Dr. Shirley A. Jackson, President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and renowned theoretical physicist, will receive the AAAED Drum Major for Justice Award. The Drum Major for Justice Award is a special acknowledgement of the extraordinary contributions that an organization or individual, including a public servant or one who has held an elective office or appointment to public service, has made to the cause of equity, access and diversity. Dr. Jackson is being honored for her contributions in the field of equal opportunity in higher education and the sciences (STEM). This is the association's highest award. Previous recipients of the Drum Major for Justice Award include the Honorable G. K. Butterfield, Dr. Norman C. Francis, Rev. James Morris Lawson, Albert Kauffman, Vice President Joseph R. Biden, the Honorable Augustus F. Hawkins (Posthumously) and the Honorable Parren J. Mitchell (Posthumously). Dr. Jackson holds an S.B. in Physics, and a Ph.D. in Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics-both from MIT. She is the first African-American woman to receive a doctorate from MIT-in any field-and has been a trailblazer throughout her career, including as the first African-American woman to lead a top-ranked research university. In addition to the doctorate from MIT, Dr. Jackson has been awarded 53 honorary doctoral degrees. In 2015, United States President Barack Obama awarded Dr. Jackson the National Medal of Science, the nation's highest honor for contributions in science and engineering.

AAAED will honor Dr. Rufus Glasper, President and CEO of the League for Innovation in the Community College, with the Arthur A. Fletcher Lifetime Achievement Award. The Award recognizes a lifetime of service promoting and advocating for equal opportunity, diversity and affirmative action. Dr. Glasper is being honored for his contributions in the field of equal opportunity in higher education. Previous Arthur A. Fletcher Award recipients include: Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), Dr. Walter J. Leonard (posthumously), Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., Wade Henderson, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights; and Julianne Malveaux, former president of Bennett College. Dr. Glasper is chancellor emeritus of the Maricopa Community Colleges, one of the nation's largest multi-college community college systems. He served as chancellor from 2003 through February 2016, and previously held leadership positions in the district for more than two decades. Nationally, Glasper previously served as a member of the American Council on Education Commission on Higher Education Attainment, convened by the six presidential-level higher education national associations to assess the need for improved college retention and attainment and to chart a course for improvement. In 2012, he was appointed to the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council, composed of prominent university presidents and academic leaders charged with advising the secretary and senior leadership at the department on several key issues.

Dr. Harvey Kesselman, President of Stockton University (New Jersey), will be the recipient of the Cesar Estrada Chavez Award. The Cesar Estrada Chavez Award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated leadership in support of workers' rights and humanitarian issues. Harvey Kesselman is the fifth President of Stockton University. He has more than 35 years of experience in higher education and is a tenured Professor in Stockton’s School of Education. He has advised the New Jersey College and University Presidents' Council regarding accountability and assessment, participated on the New Jersey College and Career Readiness Task Force, and represented the senior public colleges and universities in the NJ Committee of Experts on Campus Sexual Assault Issues. In addition, he founded and chaired the SRI & ETTC Consortium, which includes more than 90 school districts throughout New Jersey. Dr. Kesselman also has served on numerous national grant reviews, authored and promoted policies for legislation, maintains a strong record of successful grant preparation, and continues to serve as a consultant and speaker. He is actively involved in his community, including elected positions on the Township Committee and the School Board, and appointed positions to numerous public and civic organizations.

AAAED will honor Ms. Kenja Hassan, Director, Cultural Relations & Special Projects, Arizona State University (ASU), with the Rosa Parks Award. The award recognizes an individual who serves as a role model and leader for others through their personal achievements, excellence in a chosen field; commitment to human, civil rights and social issues and contributions to the betterment of society. At ASU, Ms. Hassan works to forge relationships with diverse communities throughout the state. She is the liaison to the Asian American, Pacific Islander and African American communities. She launched the State of Black Arizona publication in 2009 and assists groups working on similar community/university collaborations. She coordinates Public Affairs’ national forums in Washington, D.C., Tucson and other cities. Ms. Hassan serves on the board of Neighborhood Housing Services of Phoenix. She is a member of the O’Connor House’s SpeakOut AZ Committee and the Arizona Community Foundation’s Black Philanthropy Initiative Task Force among others.

Dr. Bryan Brayboy will also receive the Rosa Parks Award. Dr. Brayboy is professor at Arizona State University and Special Advisor to the President at ASU on American Indian Affairs. Bryan McKinley Jones Brayboy (Lumbee) is Borderlands Professor of Indigenous Education and Justice in the School of Social Transformation at ASU. At ASU, he is Director of the Center for Indian Education and co-editor of the Journal of American Indian Education. He also has affiliations with the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, American Indian Studies, and the Department of English. From 2007-2012, he was Visiting President’s Professor of Indigenous Education at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. In the last 15 years, he and his team have created programs in Alaska, Arizona, and Utah that have prepared over 125 Indigenous teachers, most of whom are still teaching in Indian Country. His research focuses on the experiences of Indigenous students, staff, and faculty in institutions of higher education, Indigenous Knowledge Systems, and Indigenous Research Methodologies.

The Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission will receive the Edward M. Kennedy Community Service Award. As the title suggests, the Edward M. Kennedy Community Service Award is presented to an individual or organization demonstrating outstanding community service. Previous award recipients include Wright State University, Georgia State University, the Honorable Kathleen Martinez, the Honorable Julian Castro, Lilly Ledbetter, and Professor Theodore Shaw. The Commission was established to collect data regarding discriminatory acts against citizens of the Navajo Nation by private citizens, businesses, organizations and foreign governments within and outside the Navajo Nation. Its mission is: "To protect and promote the human rights of Navajo Nation citizens by advocating human equality at the local, state, national and international levels based on the Diné principles of Sa’a Naaghai Bik’e Hozhoo, Hashkéejí, Hózhóójí and K’é.” *** The Diné principles translate to being resilient, content, disciplined and maintaining peaceful relationships with all creation.

Alan “AP” Powell will also receive the Edward M. Kennedy Community Service Award. Mr. Powell is founding Chairman of the Checkered Flag Run Foundation and Chairman & CEO, AP & Associates LLC., In Phoenix, AZ. “AP” founded the Checkered Flag Run Foundation in 2011, to advance the quality of life and education for those living in under-served communities. AP believes if major companies leverage their resources to make an impact by sponsoring schools, organizations, and programs, the corporate world can then assist in developing the potential of tomorrow’s leaders. With the backing of sponsors, partners, and donors, the foundation engages in several non-traditional programs including the City of Phoenix Parks & Recreation Youth 365, Celebrate Arizona and Thurgood Marshall Fund HBCU’s Black Bat Showcase. These sponsored events help raise funds to support My Brother’s Keeper, Phoenix Tools 4 School, Phoenix Easter Egg Hunt, Racing to the Top Scholarships, and Drive your Mind Educational Toy Give-away, all events that support the Checkered Flag Run Foundations goals of making an impact and helping kids to cross the finish line.

The Arizona Diamondbacks will receive the Roosevelt Thomas Champion of Diversity Award. The Roosevelt Thomas Champion of Diversity Award is given to an organization or corporation for outstanding achievements in promoting diversity in the workforce. Previous award recipients of the Champion of Diversity Award include IBM, Northrup Grumman, Cox Communications Southeast, and Pepco Holdings, Inc. The Arizona Diamondbacks, often shortened as the D-backs, are an American professional baseball franchise based in Phoenix, Arizona. The club competes in Major League Baseball as a member of the National League West division. Nearly 40 percent of the Diamondbacks’ team employees are minorities, and in 2014 the Diamondbacks became the first team in baseball history to have two Black employees at the highest level of baseball decision-making when they hired Dave Stewart as general manager and De Jon Watson as the vice president of baseball operations.

Oklahoma State University will also receive the Roosevelt Thomas Champion of Diversity Award. The University continues to emerge as a nationally recognized leader in diversity and inclusion, and is establishing a standard for its future advancement. Among other honors, OSU has been recognized by National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE), the Southwest Minority Supplier Development Council (SMSDC), the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award of Insight into Diversity, and is ranked in the 25th Annual Top 100 Degree Producers edition of Diverse Issues in Higher Education for the number of African American, American Indian, Asian American, and Latino graduates across multiple degree fields.

AAAED President Myron Anderson, Ph.D., will confer the President’s Award on members of the Association who have made outstanding contributions to the Association.

For more information or to register for the Conference, go to:

Founded in 1974 as the American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA), AAAED is a national not-for-profit association of professionals working in the areas of equal opportunity, compliance and diversity. AAAED has more than 40 years of leadership in providing professional training to members, enabling them to be more successful and productive in their careers. It also promotes understanding and advocacy of affirmative action and other equal opportunity laws to enhance the tenets of access, inclusion and equality in employment, economic and educational opportunities.

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