Accolades: New Minority Support Group Recognizes Two University Leaders

A new group formed to support African-American faculty and staff at the University of Virginia has honored two members of the University community.

The Black Faculty and Staff Employee Resource Group describes its mission as “to actively engage in the recruitment, mentorship, collegiality, professional development, retention and promotion of an inclusive environment that will benefit all U.Va. faculty, administrators, staff, students and the Charlottesville community.”

On May 20, it held a luncheon to honor one faculty member and one staff member for their contributions to increasing diversity at the University.

Dr. Maurice Apprey, dean of African-American Affairs and a professor of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences, received the group’s Armstead Robinson Faculty Recognition Award “for his 31 years of stellar academic record and research, teaching accomplishments, and creating professional and academic advancement opportunities for countless students.” The group noted that under Apprey’s leadership, the School of Medicine has retained 100 percent of minority and disadvantaged students for 13 consecutive years, and that Apprey recruited the first three African-American M.D./Ph.D. students in the Medical Scientist Training Program.

The award’s namesake, the late Armstead Robinson, a former history professor, oversaw the initial development of the Carter G. Woodson Institute for Afro-American and African Studies, which helped identify, recruit and retain key African-American faculty at the University.

Morgan Davis, the purchasing coordinator for the Department of Psychology, received the Lincoln Lewis Staff Recognition Award. Davis, a more than 20-year veteran of the University, is a member of the University Staff Senate, the Black Faculty and Staff Employee Resource Group and the Procurement and Supplier Diversity Services Committee, and “plays a key role in supporting and enhancing the Department of Psychology Graduate Diversity Committee in graduate student recruiting efforts,” according to the award citation.

The award is named for the late Lincoln Lewis, the University’s first Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action Officer, who initiated the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration program linking the University and local communities.

Sandy Hook Group Honors Dewey Cornell

Dewey Cornell – a leading national expert in school violence, Bunker Professor of Education in the Curry School of Education and director of the Virginia Youth Violence Project – joined two U.S. senators as the first honorees of Sandy Hook Promise, a national non-profit dedicated to protecting children from gun violence through programs in mental health and wellness and gun safety.

At a June 23 gala in Washington, D.C., the group, founded and led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the December 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, cited Cornell for his creation of a threat assessment program that has been implemented in more than 1,000 Virginia schools and used to train professionals in more than 3,000 schools across the U.S.

The other honorees were U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.

“We call these three exemplary leaders our ‘Promise Champions’ as they have been instrumental in advancing innovative solutions to prevent gun violence,” said Mark Barden, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise. “Whether in the areas of mental health and wellness or gun safety, they champion the cause Sandy Hook Promise works to advance every day: protecting children from gun violence.”

Nephrologist Earns National Fellowship

Heather M. Perry, a postdoctoral researcher in the Division of Nephrology, has received a national fellowship for her work.

The American Society of Nephrology – the world’s largest organization of kidney health professionals – and the ASN Foundation for Kidney Research named Perry as the 2015 Sharon Anderson Research Fellow for her research, “Endothelial Sphingosine-1-phosphate Receptor-1 is Necessary for Recovery from Ischemia Reperfusion Injury and Prevents Fibrosis.”

The award provides $50,000 in each of the next two years to support Perry’s research. It is named for Dr. Sharon Anderson, the American Society of Nephrology’s first female president and the current chair of the Department of Medicine at the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Oregon.

Media Contact

Dan Heuchert

Assistant Director of University News and Chief Copy Editor, UVA Today Office of University Communications