2011 in Review: Expanded King Observances Highlighted Year in Diversity

December 15, 2011

As the year draws to a close, UVa Today will look back at milestones, achievements, trends and big stories of 2011. To share your 2011 thoughts, visit the U.Va. Today News Blog or send us a tweet @uva.

December 15, 2011 — The expanded commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day brought a cast of speakers to the University of Virginia in January. Other significant diversity-related events celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Carter Woodson Institute of African-American and African Studies in the College of Arts & Sciences and the 40th anniversary of the admission of female undergraduates.

Some of the diversity-related highlights of the year:

U.Va.'s Expanded Observance Honoring Martin Luther King Jr. to Feature Donna Brazile, Clayborne Carson, Julian Bond, Amiri Baraka and Others
Jan. 12 —The University of Virginia commemorated the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. with almost two weeks of events, including reminiscences about his 1963 visit to U.Va. and talks by well-known activists and scholars.

Carson: King's Mission Transcended Civil Rights Struggle
Jan. 18 — The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. should be remembered as a symbol of a worldwide social movement, not just as a civil rights leader, a leading King scholar and historian said at the School of Law.

Look at King's 'Own Words' Reminds Us of His Radical Moral Vision
Jan. 20 — Celebrations of the life of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. tend to focus on his more tangible political accomplishments. An event at the Miller Center, "King in His Own Words," dug deeper by examining some of King's own words and shed light on how the full extent of King's moral vision remains radical, even today, more than 40 years after his assassination in 1968.

Brazile Urges Continuation of King's Work
Jan. 21 — Donna Brazile, a political analyst who works for the Democratic National Committee, spoke on "Reflections on King's Legacy: Women in Leadership" as part of the University's Martin Luther King Jr. celebration.

King's Visit to U.Va. Was More Substance Than Flash, Panelists Recall
Jan. 26 — U.Va. history professor Paul Gaston and Wesley Harris, one of the first African-American students to attend U.Va., discussed their memories of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. when he came to the Grounds in 1963, during a panel discussion.

U.Va.'s First African-American Undergraduate Leads Engineering School Panel on Diversity
Jan. 26 — In 1955, Robert Bland entered U.Va. and eventually became the first African-American undergraduate student to earn a degree from the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Bland spoke during a panel discussion as part of the University's Martin Luther King Day observances.

African-American Affairs Office Focuses on Growth in Black Students' Academic Success
Feb. 7 — In his fifth year as dean of the Office of African-American Affairs, Maurice Apprey talked about three concepts his office focuses on to enhance the success of black students, beyond the range of the structured services it offers.

At Alumnae Gathering, Women Reflect on Four Decades of Progress at U.Va.
March 28 — More than 320 alumnae attended a conference to reflect on their experiences on Grounds and hear how the University has changed since it became fully coeducational in 1970.

University of Virginia Diversity Award Goes to Angela M. Davis
March 9 — Angela M. Davis, a 35-year faculty member and administrator, was named recipient of the University's John T. Casteen III Diversity-Equity-Inclusion Leadership Award.

Symposium Traces History of African-American Studies at the University
April 11 — Members and guests of the University and local community came to the Grounds to recognize, review and reflect on African-American and African studies at U.Va. in a symposium marking the 30th anniversary of the Carter Woodson Institute of African-American and African Studies.

Out of the Shadows: Event to Commemorate Kitty Foster and Canada Community
March 31 — A community of African-Americans who lived near Grounds in the 19th and early 20th centuries were remembered during "Celebrating Catherine Foster and the Canada Neighborhood."

U.Va. and Partner Schools Help Prepare Future Minority Scientists and Engineers
April 28 — The University hosted minority undergraduates from several colleges and universities in Virginia and North Carolina in a symposium that showcased the students' research projects in science, technology, engineering and math.

Champions' Multifaceted Qualities Focus on Social Justice and Equal Access
Oct. 31 — Many words define "champion," Darlene Scott-Scurry, director of the U.Va.  Office of Equal Opportunity Programs, said at an annual reception on to honor University employees for their activities in support of diversity.

Woodson Fellowships Making Widespread Impact on the Academy
Dec. 7 — The University of California, Berkeley; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the University of Michigan; Princeton University – these are just a few of the schools where former fellows from U.Va.'s Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies have secured academic positions.

— By Anne Bromley