Oakland University celebrated diversity, culture and community during the 19th annual Keeper of the Dream Scholarship Awards Celebration. The 2011 keynote was Louis Gossett Jr., an activist, producer, director and actor with wins in the Academy Awards, Emmys and Golden Globes.
Oakland’s KOD Awards celebration honors the legacy of the late civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The celebration recognizes students who exemplify Dr. King’s vision, and reward their efforts in promoting interracial acceptance and understanding.
Established in 1993, Keeper of the Dream provides scholarships up to $5,000 for students who have demonstrated strong citizenship, scholarship and leadership in breaking down cultural stereotypes and promoting interracial understanding. Since its inception, more than 50 students from a wide variety of academic majors have been awarded scholarships.
This year’s awards recipients are Emily Tissot, dual Spanish and anthropology major, Se Min “Gerald” Sun, biology major, Rodrina Moore, business major and Aianna Scott, psychology major.
All four students have demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities through their involvement both on campus and in the community. They also have helped breakdown cultural stereotypes and promoted interracial understanding.
With a focus on local and international volunteerism, Tissot has organized and participated in many cultural development projects overseas, and has traveled to Mexico, Peru, and the Domincan Republic to teach language and health skills.
Originally from the Republic of Korea, Sun knows what it is like to be in a cultural minority. He prizes diverse understanding and cooperation, and chose to make himself a multicultural ambassador both on campus and in his personal life.
Moore works constantly to build a strong sense of inclusion and community on campus. As the president and adviser for the Oakland University Apartment Association, she hopes to engage the student community and helped implement a diversity panel.
Scott is well known on campus for being a champion of disability causes. She created the OU Students Toward Understanding Disabilities Buddy Program, which is designed to help disabled students make the transition to college and to graduation by being paired with a mentor.
The KOD scholarship awards are sponsored by Barnes & Noble Bookstores at Oakland University; Beaumont Hospitals; Jones, Lang, LaSalle Americas, Inc.; the Oakland University Alumni Association; Cooley Law School; and the OU/MSU Federal Credit Union.
The KOD celebration is also the unofficial kickoff for African American Celebration Month, which runs from Monday, Jan. 17, to Thursday, Feb. 17. This year’s theme, “Roots, Achievements and Projections,” commemorates the month with a series of events highlighting the importance of diversity and raising awareness of black history and culture. For a complete listing of AACM 2011 events and activities, view the website
For more information about the Keeper of the Dream event, please call the Center for Multicultural Initiatives at (248) 370-4404 or visit oakland.edu/kod