2011 Alumni Excellence Through Diversity Celebration

2011 Alumni Excellence Through Diversity Celebration  John Laymon

One hundred community members, students, faculty, staff and alumni, attended the UNH Alumni Diversity Hall of Fame celebrations recognizing UNH graduates for their creative advancement of diversity, generating inclusive excellence at UNH in their fields of work and in their communities.

The May 6 activities began with the inaugural UNH Alumni Excellence Through Diversity Lecture, delivered by distinguished alum John Laymon, Class of 1973. Laymon is owner of JRL Enterprises, one of the largest minority-owned businesses in Pittsburgh. He was the first African American to graduate in Mechanical Engineering from the UNH College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. Laymon reminded his audience in the MUB Theater, “Creating more opportunities for under-represented students makes us a better-informed community and stronger as individuals and as an institution.”  Use this link to listen to the lecture

At the evening reception, three distinguished alums were inducted into the UNH Hall of Fame. Chair of UNH Diversity Programs and Community Outreach JerriAnne Boggis and President Mark Huddleston opened the program with the president saying, “Those invited into the Diversity Hall of Fame represent a measure of the great pride UNH feels in the accomplishments of its graduates.”

2011 Hall of Fame receipients with Pres HuddlestonAssociate Provost for Academic Achievement and Support Judy Spiller and Executive Director of the Alumni Association Steve Donovan presented the honors as follows.

Math and science teacher Shelly-Ann Richmond, Class of 2001, was a mentor for UNH CONNECT, the Chair of the Diversity Support Coalition, and a McNair Scholar. She also developed the program “I Am Somebody’s Adored Child” with the aid of then UNH President Joan Leitzel and Dr. Roger Beattie. This program was designed to help students who had the desire to earn college-level education - yet were at a disadvantage in economic status, grades or SAT scores. She asked decision-makers to test and apply new ways to reveal true potential for achievement and for entrance to college. Today, the IASAC program assists teachers, students and the elderly in Jamaica, West Indies. Each year, IASAC donates school supplies, shoes, clothing items, and sufficient reading books to create a library in each classroom.

Associate Dean of the UNH Graduate School Cari Moorhead, Class of 1999, entered UNH as a Ph.D. candidate in Education fully committed in the work of equity and inclusion. Today, she offers UNH students a model of personal power to reach their professional goals. Eighteen years ago, Dr. Moorhead helped to create Seacoast Outright, a community program that provides outreach support, advocacy and programming to LGBTQ youth, and she continues to maintain a UNH connection to this essential community resource. As a partner to our UNH Alumni Association, she works on the popular fundraising Golf Tournament for the UNH Association. She also re-connects LGBTQ alum, people who thought they might never have the possibility of a future working relationship with UNH.

UNH Dean of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences Samuel Mukasa, Class of 1977, came to UNH recently from the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Michigan. He had served as an advisor to the Dean of the College of Literature, Science and the Arts at U-M on issues of gender and race. He was actively involved in the National Science Foundation ADVANCE Grant that focuses on improving recruitment and retention of women in science and engineering. He was a member of STRIDE, an organization in Science and Technology Recruiting to Improve Diversity and Excellence. Steve Donovan said, “His inclusive excellence initiatives in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences are critical to the success of both our students and our society.”

The three distinguished alumni are role models for how to be agents of transformation. To read the full bios of each alum use this link. 

In honor of the passing of colleague, advocate and friend to many, Dr. Roger Beattie, Cari Moorhead said in accepting the honor, “We all want to be somebody’s Dr. Beattie.”

The program also featured UNH senior David Jacobsen who delivered a Call For Support to the University in its current budget crisis.

Vice President of Faculty Development and Inclusive Excellence Initiatives Wanda Mitchell and Professor of Health Management and Policy John Seavey thanked the many people responsible for being agents of change at UNH.

In addition, Bie Aweh and Miguel Miranda spoke on the importance of mentorships. Aweh said, “Our mentors were committed to making sure that we excelled academically. They instilled in us the idea that higher education is just as much for us as it is for those in the dominant group. . . . This university, our community, and our nation have a long way to go toward equity. Our mentors helped us to take a hard look at this and discover our inner activism. . . I quickly found my voice, and I keep applying what poet activist Audre Lourde said, ‘We were never meant to survive”, but we can, we do, and we will.’”