MLK Awards 2024
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Award Reception honorees stand with members of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Chapman's Fish Interfaith Center on Jan. 16, 2024.

Chapman University Honors Dedicated Changemakers at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Award Reception

Chapman University hosted its second annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Award Reception. The event, held at Fish Interfaith Center on Jan. 16, served as a platform to honor the outstanding contributions of a faculty member, staff member and student organization that are making great strides in celebrating diversity, social justice and community empowerment.

“This year, we requested nominations from the campus community,” said Misty Levingston, director of Black excellence and achievement. “Chapman’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion selected the winners based on the rubric that aligns with the nomination criteria.”

Against the backdrop of King’s enduring dream, members of the Chapman community were recognized for their unwavering commitment to fostering an inclusive environment and championing the principles that define King’s legacy. The reception not only applauded their achievements, but also underscored Chapman’s dedication to advancing the cause of equality and social change.

“The 2024 recipients of the community award continue the legacy of Panthers who demonstrate systemic change through their actions,” said Reg Chhen Stewart, Ph.D., vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion. “It is the responsibility of all of us at Chapman to improve the university we are so very proud of.”

As the event unfolded, members of Chapman’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion stepped up to the podium to introduce each honoree with a quote from King.

The honorees:

Faculty:

Pradip Shukla, Ph.D., associate professor at Argyros College of Business and Economics, is a co-founder of the APIDA Faculty and Staff Forum at Chapman University, a founding Advisory Board Member of the Asian Pacific Institute at Chapman University, and was invited to serve as the keynote speaker for the APIDA Graduation Ceremony in 2023.

Shukla’s nomination read, “Like Dr. King, Dr. Shukla affects change through long-term action and promotes social justice to achieve greater visibility for minority cultures.”

Staff:

Tim Alexander, resident director of Glass Hall, was the recipient of the staff community service award. Alexander’s nomination read, “Tim took the initiative and requested that the Black Staff and Faculty Forum provided book scholarships for their students. He saw a need and he fulfilled that need. Tim also speaks to everyone he encounters by name, and this small gesture goes a long way to make others feel seen.”

Upon receiving the award, Alexander shared an update about the initiative.

“I wish you could all see the students visit my office to pick up the books feeling affirmed that someone sees them and knows them,” said Alexander. “We were able to support 15 students with the initiative.”

Student Organization:

The Black Law Student Association (BLSA) won this year’s student organization community service award for continuously striving to engage students in their college and demonstrating their commitment to exemplifying King’s ideals. Fowler School of Law Associate Dean of Admission and Diversity Initiatives Justin Cruz, who nominated the BLSA, said in his nomination that “the BLSA has organized many high quality events to promote diversity and support diverse members of the law school community. Several BLSA members go into the community to recruit and empower students to go to law school.”

Pradip Shukla, Ph.D., associate professor at Argyros College of Business and Economics, accepts his faculty award at the MLK Community Award Reception.

Glass Hall Resident Director Tim Alexander receives his staff award at the MLK Community Award Reception.

The Black Law Student Association wins their award at the MLK Community Award Reception.

Paul Pe