The "60th Annual Alumni Awards” was hosted by the EMU Alumni Association and premiered on the university’s YouTube channel as well as on the Alumni Awards webpage on Saturday, May 15.
FOX 2 news anchor and reporter, Josh Landon, served as master of ceremonies for the evening. Landon is an EMU alumnus, earning his Bachelor of Science from EMU in 2006.
Awardees are selected by the Awards, Scholarship, and Recognition Committee, which is made up of members of the Board of Directors for the EMU Alumni Association.
“We have alumni that are out here doing super-fantastic things and contributing in invaluable ways to the community," said Mia Milton, Interim Executive Director of Alumni Relations and Engagement. “That’s why [the awards] are so important because we need to let our alums know that we see them out here doing fantastic work."
The first category, the Outstanding Young Alumni Award, is awarded to those who have been EMU graduates for less than ten years and have shown the value of an EMU education through their post-college achievements.
The recipients of this award are Farah Harb (MBA12), Global Education Analyst for Ford Motor Co. and Community Services, Jasmine A. Lee (BS09), Director of Inclusive Excellence and Initiatives for Identity, Inclusion & Belonging at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and Zach Wigal (BBA16), founder of Gamers Outreach and the Gamers for Giving Fundraiser.
Jasmine A. Lee (BS09) transferred to EMU after attending two other universities. “I think it was the combination of all three experiences and finishing at Eastern, that’s what really made the biggest difference [in preparing Lee for her career],” Lee said. “The diversity, equity, and inclusion work I do for the Division of Student Affairs [at UMBC] is really directly connected to some of the work that I was doing in my undergrad at the Center for Multicultural Affairs [at EMU].”
The second category, the Alumni Achievement Award, is for graduates of EMU for 10 to 25 years who have continued to maintain interest in EMU while also achieving distinction in their careers.
The recipients of this award are Kevin N. Alschuler, Ph.D. (MS06, PHD10), Associate Professor and Attending Psychologist at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Dr. Derrick R. Coleman (BS96, MA01), Superintendent of the River Rouge School District, Christina (Tina) Miller (MS02), Nutrition Outreach Manager for the United Dairy Industry of Michigan, and Chad Newton (BS97, MS11), Chief Executive Officer for the Wayne County Airport Authority and Regent on EMU’s Board of Regents.
The third category, the Distinguished Alumni Award, is awarded to graduates of EMU for more than 25 years who have continued to maintain interest in EMU, achieved exceptional distinction in their careers, and demonstrated excellent service to others.
The recipients of this award are Carrie J. Clark (BS89), Director of the IT Project Management Office, IT Service Management, and EPIC Testing for the Henry Ford Health System, and Bynarozell (Byna) Elliott (BBA92), Head of Advancing Black Pathways at J.P Morgan Chase and Company.
The final category, the Dr. John W. Porter Distinguished Service Award, is for individuals who are not necessarily graduates of EMU but have still made an amazing contribution to Eastern Michigan University or the EMU Alumni Association.
The recipients of this award are Gregory A. Peoples, Emeritus Dean of Students and University Ombudsman at EMU, and Bette Warren, Emeritus Associate Vice President for Academic Programming at EMU.
“When I think about the tradition of the EMU alumni awards celebration, I think the tradition of it is so important in terms of recognizing them [alumni], understanding that they’re connected to the university community, and we’re connected to them,” Milton said. “We are a part of their journey just as they are a part of ours, and I think it really is a wonderful example of what an education at EMU can do.”
"[Winning this award] is a reminder that even when you downplay who you are, people are still watching and it’s important to believe the things that people say about you and the things that they see in you,“ Lee said.