2024 MLK Spirit Awards presented to individuals representing ideals in philosophy and action

The Ripon College Center for Diversity and Inclusion and the Dean of Students office presented the 2024 MLK Spirit Awards Feb. 23 in honor of Black History Month. The MLK Spirit Award honors members of the Ripon College community (students, faculty, staff, community member/s, and alumni) who reflect Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s principles and ideals in philosophy and action. The MLK Spirit Award in multiple categories is presented to individuals who demonstrate character through the maintenance of integrity and the balance of respect and responsibility.

Recipients are honored for their compassionate and courageous efforts to create a diverse, inclusive and equitable community and to bring about change aimed at promoting justice and equity.

The 2024 recipients are:

    • Aaliyah Robinson ’25 of Chicago, Illinois, Living the Dream Award. This recognizes a student who has contributed to the dream of equality, and demonstrated visible and continuing leadership in one or more of the following areas: education, service, civil rights, community or civic engagement.Robinson works at the Center for Diversity and Inclusion and always takes the lead helping with events. She also helped to reform the student diversity group Asian Student Association, and takes on leadership goals in her classes.
    • Jody Roy, professor of communication, Drum Major Award. This award recognizes a faculty member who has made significant contributions in improving access and opportunity by dismantling barriers. Specifically, they have helped put into place policies, curriculum, and initiatives to enhance opportunity and success for underrepresented populations.Roy is honored for advocating for students to attend events that address diversity and encourage differences inside and outside the classroom.
    • Michaela Myers ’17, residence hall director, Diversity Practitioner Award. This award recognizes a College staff member who demonstrates excellence in their role as a diversity practitioner on campus. Their work and commitment goes beyond the scope of their respective job, duties, or administrative responsibilities.Myers consistently demonstrates what it means to be an ally, pushing for the integration of policies that promote diversity and constantly work with different students to advocate for change on the campus. Myers also supports the Queer Straight Alliance and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion.
    • Lauren McConnell, director of conference services and assistant in student life, LACE Award (Love, Authenticity, Courage and Empathy). This award recognizes community members who give freely of their time and service to advance the work of equity and inclusion, and to work effectively for change through their own selfless service.McConnell has been an excellent inclusive member of the College and the Ripon community. She promotes a welcoming, inclusive and safe space for members of the college campus as well as the community when she owned the game store downtown. She goes above and beyond to ensure all feel belonging to the community.
    • Abigail Urbina ’23 admission/student life post graduate assistant, Legacy Award. This award recognizes an alumnus/alumna of the College for their work in their own community. Urbina was a recent student staff member who, since her graduation, has continued to work with the Center for Diversity and Inclusion to promote and provide resources for students to learn more about diversity, equity and inclusion.Before and since graduation, Urbina has displayed leadership and advanced the cause of justice and equality in our community. She actively participating in numerous events on campus.

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