Members of the Multicultural Center for Academic Success at RIT recognized student, faculty and staff leaders on May 6 at the center’s annual “Celebration of STARS.” The awards program and dinner was highlighted by an evening of music, awards and inspiration from special guest Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren.
The STAR Awards are given by MCAS to campus and community members who have provided support to the center, its programs and students. But the main focus of the evening is on the student-awardees, particularly those graduating from RIT with 3.0 grade point averages or better, those who participate in the center’s programs and many influential student-leaders, including Barnard Rodgers and Karbara Maxey.
Rodgers, a first-year communication major, was presented with the Gabrielle Oberti “Shining Light” Award, given for his participation on the center’s team during its Summer Bridge program initiatives and other events. (Oberti was a student at RIT until her untimely death in a car accident this past February.) Maxey was named the 2014 Rochester City Scholar of the Year. She is one of the first students accepted into the Rochester City Scholars program and in its first graduating class this May. She was recognized for her outstanding academic record and research activities as an undergraduate in biotechnology and molecular bio-science program.
Warren recognized Rodgers and Maxey as well as all the MCAS student leaders in her address to the group, sharing her experiences growing up in Rochester, as a student at Wilson Magnet High School, and later at the University of Albany where she received her law degree. She was inspired early on to pursue law after her grandfather had been shot, and it became her focus, she said, to be an advocate for justice, not only for him but for others in her community. She practiced law locally and was elected to Rochester’s City Council in 2007, becoming its president in 2010. In January 2014, Warren was elected mayor of her hometown.
“Even after being in government for 14 years, when I ran for mayor, I was told I was not ready, I was not good enough. If I had listened, I might not be here today,” said the city’s first African American female mayor. “Don’t let anyone stop your dreams or determine your future. If you just try to fly, you can begin to soar.”
She went on to remind the students that graduation from college, although a significant step, is not the end of the journey, but the beginning of their next chapter in life. The evening highlighted the 28 students in the MCAS program who will be graduating this May. Many have maintained 3.0 grade point averages or better throughout their time at RIT.
The 2014 STAR awardees include:
Multicultural Center for Academic Success Awards - Students
Gabby Oberti “Shining Light” Award – Bernard Rogers
Rochester City Scholar of the Year – Karbara Maxey
MCAS Scholar of the Year – Dimple Joseph
Summer Bridge Student of the Year – Scarlet Cespedes
Unsung Hero Award: Bernard Rodgers
Multicultural Center for Academic Success Awards – Faculty/Staff
Innovation Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence – dt ogilvie, dean, Saunders College of Business
AALANA Dedication Award – Eulas Boyd, Enrollment Management
Unsung Hero Award – Renee Baker, Executive Director, Office of Faculty Recruitment
Partner of the Year – Michelle Cometa, RIT University News
AALANA Faculty Staff Association (AFSA) Awards
Communication Award – NTID Diversity Group
Advocacy Award – Howard Ward, vice president, Housing Operations
Service Award – Megan Tornow, sr. staff assistant, MCAS
Engagement Award – Newt Watson, manager, Compensation Planning and Compliance, HR
AALANA Collegiate Association Awards
Executive Board Member of the Year – Alexis Harris
Affiliate of the Year – Latin American Student Association
Event of the Year – “Step Above” by Alkimia Chapter of Lambda Sigma Upsilon Fraternity Inc.
Phoenix Award – Gospel Ensemble
Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Diversity Education: Christopher Ketant
Center for Campus Life: Lydia Moore
Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life: Chantelle Brown and Cesar Mendez
RIT Leadership Institute and Community Service Center: Lydia Moore and Tegan Spinner
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.: Candy Boston, Alumni Office
Latin American Student Association: Brian Urena and Gilberto Garcia
Lambda Alpha Upsilon Latino Fraternity Inc.: Santiago Murica
Lambda Sigma Upsilon Latino Fraternity: Jordan Rawls
National Society of Black Engineers: Kenton Connors
Omega Phi Beta Sorority Inc.: Denisse Garcia
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc.: Jon Weddington and Alex Wright
Society of African American Business Students: Christa Harvey
Unity House: Olufunmilola Babalola
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.: Kaneesha Dukes