2008 Banquet: Many Faces, One Mission: Inclusion

2008 Keynote Speakers

Keynote speaker, Myrna Adams,
Judge Jimmy Moore, Sharon Demers

On May 3, the University celebrated advocacy for diversity at its Third Annual Diversity Banquet in Huddleston Hall Ballroom at UNH Durham. It was an opportunity for those devoted to diversity work to meet, reunite and honor one another's efforts.

President Mark Huddleston presented The President's Awards for Excellence through Diversity for significant contributions to advancing efforts for campus and community inclusion.

Faculty member Monica Chiu earned the 2008 award for her leadership in transforming the curriculum and promoting innovative teaching methods in our classrooms. As an Associate Professor of English, she challenges her students to examine the differences to be found in a pluralistic society. Her colleagues recognize her as the founder of a faculty seminar on pedagogy and inclusion at UNH. The Inclusive Teaching Fellows is a group committed to increasing the focus on diversity.

Richard Haynes earned the 2008 President's Excellence through Diversity Award for his talent in inspiring students to create a diversity mural. He was recognized for his passionate way of connecting with people from many backgrounds and cultures. Haynes's outreach of service and leadership spans the campus and external community as he enhances diversity at UNH. Haynes is the UNH Associate Director of Admissions for Diversity.

The UNH President's Commission on the Status of People of Color presented its First Annual Community Service Award for outstanding contribution to promoting equity and social justice in New Hampshire. Commission co-chairs, Robert Macieski and Justus Ogembo, presented Dr. Marie Metoyer the award for her respected, active membership in the diverse Manchester community. She was one of the first female psychiatrists in New Hampshire and the first female psychiatrist of color practicing in this state. Dr. Metoyer has been involved in such organizations as the Cultural Diversity Task Force of Greater Manchester, the Currier Museum of Art, the Greater Manchester Black Scholarship Foundation, the Manchester NAACP, the Advisory Board on Cultural Competency of the Mental Health Center, the New Hampshire Minority Health Coalition, and the NH State Commission on the Status of Women.

UNH Alumni from across the United States were inducted into the Diversity Alumni Hall of Fame for their commitment to equity and inclusion in their communities. J. Gregg Sanborn, Executive Director of the Alumni Association and JerriAnne Boggis, Chair of the Diversity Banquet, led the induction and pinning ceremony for Virginia Defreitas-Battersby, Class of '06; Sharon Demers, '73; Matthew Emory '98; Jill Gravink, '86; Rasheena Howard, '04; Myra Khan, '07; Mike Lavers, '04; John Laymon Jr. '73; Judge Jimmy Moore, '72; Jeff Nichols, '73; Manouchka Poinson, '03; Tony Rodriguez, '96; Nii-adzei Tetteh, '06; Julian Torres, '04; Jennifer Vasquez, '07; Valerie Williams, '02; and Albert Willis, '00.

Myrna Adams, UNH's first African American administrator in 1969 – 1972, delivered the keynote address. Adams described her assignment as Special Assistant to the Vice President for Academic Affairs at UNH in 1969 as the second step taken in response to the University's attempt toward addressing the needs of an expanded cohort of black students who were recruited into the COPE-KING program. The first step, hiring an African American recruiter, led to the recognition that the inclusion of students with different socio-cultural life experiences required changes in the university itself.

Creating a Black Studies Program was a priority for Myrna Adams in 1969, but the role first required her to address the climate and culture of UNH and its effect on the students. Her work required patience and an understanding of the obstacles set against change in an environment clearly under-funded and under-prepared to address the issues of inclusivity and diversity among students, staff and faculty.

Adams said, "We all had to learn how to navigate and be successful in the UNH environment; the learning process was painful at times, but in the end, we were rewarded by the knowledge gained and by the achievements accomplished by the students. My departure enabled the students to grow and use the strengths they had garnered both prior to and during their stay at UNH."

Several of Adams' former colleagues and students were among the banquet attendees. She received a standing ovation for her address.

The annual celebration is coordinated through the Office of the Vice Provost through Chief Diversity Officer Wanda S. Mitchell, who joined Professor John Seavey and Vice Provost Bruce Mallory in concluding the program. They delivered special thanks to banquet emcees Benjamin Justice, Class of 2008, and Nicole Douglas-Murray, Class of 2009 and extended an invitation to the attendees to return for the May of 2009 Diversity Celebration.

The UNH foundation supports the following diversity funds which may be found at; List of Endowed Funds

  • Diversity Initiatives Fund
  • The UNH - Community Black Heritage Partnerships
  • Multicultural Recruitment and Retention
  • Alberta Curry Virgil Memorial Scholarship
  • Dr. Frederick Samuels Fund for Diversity
  • The Howard Memorial Fund
  • Kidder Fund
  • Melbourne W. Cummings Endowed Scholarship Fund
  • The Peterson Carsey Endowed Minority Scholarship Fund

2008 Banquet Photo Gallery