Tuesday January 29, 2008

Following Dr. King

The Dayton chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference honored the University of Dayton with several awards for working to keep the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. alive in the Dayton area.

The University of Dayton and several faculty and staff received awards at the recent Martin Luther King Jr. Presidential Banquet, including the 2008 MLK Humanitarian Award.

UD psychology professor Ron Katsuyama took home the top award for his role in reducing racial intolerance in the Dayton area.

"He has done so much good and gone out into the neighborhoods and done so many things with people of different nationalities and race," said MLK Awards Committee Chairwoman Josephine L. Noble.

Katsuyama's credits include: founding president of the Asian American Council of Dayton; chairman of the Dayton-based Federation Against Intolerance and Racism; leader of the University's development of a policy on responding to hate crimes and bias-related incidents on campus; former chairman of Kettering's Board of Community Relations; governor of the Midwest District of the Japanese American Citizens League; coordinator of the 2006 and 2008 Asian Cultural Festival; and former chairman of the Ohio Asian American Health Coalition.

"The award was quite a surprise, totally unexpected, and a great honor," Katsuyama said.

University of Dayton President Daniel J. Curran received the Service Award from the Dayton chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference for serving as the banquet's honorary co-chair and helping to lead the city's memorial march in 2007 and 2008.

The award is continuing recognition for Curran, who in August became the first recipient of the Joseph E. Lowery Human Rights Legacy Award, given by the national SCLC board of directors. In October, he received the 2007 Humanitarian Award from the National Conference for Community and Justice of Greater Dayton.

"Dr. Curran was chosen because of his dynamic leadership in diversity in this community," said the Rev. Raleigh Trammell, SCLC national board chairman. "He is committed to a community for all races."

The University of Dayton collaborated with the Dayton SCLC for the third year in a row to bring guests to the banquet, and Curran said he plans to continue the partnership for as long as he serves as president.

Additional honors from the Dayton SCLC included:

  • Institutional Life Member Award for the University of Dayton
  • Chairman's Award to Lynnette M. Heard, UD president's office executive director, for her "outstanding support and dedicated service to the SCLC."
  • Outstanding Service Award to Reba Mullins, UD president's office senior administrative secretary, for assisting the banquet committee in planning the event.

Grammy Award-winning contemporary gospel artist Kirk Franklin gave the keynote address and performed at the annual banquet held at the Dayton Convention Center.

For more information, contact Meagan Pant, assistant director of media relations, at 937-229-3256 or mpant1@udayton.edu.