For the past 20 years, Oakland University’s Keeper of the Dream Scholarship has celebrated and recognized student leaders who promote diversity, cultural understanding and community activism. This year will be no different, as three students will be recognized for their efforts to promote interracial acceptance and understanding.
Oakland’s KOD Awards celebration honors the legacy of the late civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The celebration honors students who exemplify Dr. King’s vision, and rewards their efforts on campus and in the community.
Helping to honor these exceptional students by serving as keynote speaker will be rapper, actor poet and activist Common, who has infused his work with a message of love and self-respect. His introspective rhymes have pushed boundaries with their incisive social commentary, and his lyrics promote family ethics, racial understanding and pride in one's self.
Established in January 1993, Keeper of the Dream provides scholarships up to $5,000 for students who have demonstrated strong citizenship, scholarship and leadership. Since its inception, more than 50 students from a wide variety of academic majors have been awarded scholarships.
This year, international relations major Benjamin Eveslage, biology major Subha Hanif, and graduate counseling student Tara Michener will be honored.
On campus, Eveslage is a well-known figure and president of the student body. He works to raise awareness and engage students through events related to social, political, cultural and civil rights issues today. Prior to attending OU, Eveslage travelled to Ghana to work and live in a small village, facilitating a school lunch program.
As a pre-med student, Hanif has a personal goal of bringing greater diversity and different backgrounds to campus and the medical profession. After attending the “Summer in Medical and Dental Education Program,” Hanif has been a leader representing minority student issues through organizations such as the Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society, Student Congress, University Senate, and the Muslim Student Association.
Michener works to foster good will and understanding on campus and in the community. She created the Students Against Bullying student organization and forged alliances with community members to organize events and promote tolerance. Michener is also a published author of three books on self-esteem and anti-bullying.
The KOD scholarship awards are sponsored by Barnes & Noble Bookstores at Oakland University, Beaumont Health System, Oakland University Alumni Association, Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Michigan State University Federal Credit Union—OU Branch, Dykema Gossett, and Towers Watson.
The KOD celebration is also the unofficial kickoff for African American Celebration Month, which runs from Monday, Jan. 16, to Thursday, Feb. 16. This year’s theme, “Justice, Freedom, Change… Now is the Time!” 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 2012 events and activities, view the website
This year’s KOD celebration is set for 11 a.m. on Monday, January 16, in the Oakland Center Banquet Rooms. 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