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SUNY Downstate Medical Center

Office of Diversity & Inclusion

6th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Leadership Award

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  • Annual Leadership Award

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. graphic

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

His call for direct action through non violent civil disobedience has forever shaped American civil rights law and international human rights law.


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SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher Receives Downstate Medical Center's 6th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Leadership Award

On January 20, 2017 Downstate paid homage to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at the presentation of the 6th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Leadership Award. Sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, this year's award went to SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher.

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SUNY Board of Trustees Chairman H. Carl McCall and SUNY Executive Vice Chancellor/Provost Alexander Cartwright also praise Chancellor Zimpher leadership of the SUNY Syste

The theme for this year's event was "Educational Equity and Access: The Path to Inclusion. In his remarks, Kevin L. Antoine, JD, Assistant Vice President of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the founder of the MLK Leadership Award, spoke of Chancellor Zimpher's leadership and courage in establishing the SUNY Diversity Task Force and charging it with the development of policies to recommend to the SUNY Board of Trustees, to increase diversity among students, faculty, and staff and also to ensure a supportive, welcoming environment for every member of the SUNY family at both the system and campus levels.

In September 2015 SUNY'S board of trustees approved the Chancellor's Diversity Task Force sweeping new policy designed to make SUNY a national leader for diversity and inclusiveness. In accepting the MLK Leadership Award Chancellor Zimpher reminded the audience they should never forget that Downstate Medical Center was part of the founding of the State University of New York because not all residents of New York State could get admission into medical schools in the state. Chancellor Zimpher also said that Downstate is a national model for providing healthcare and health and medical education.

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Also at this year's program was Insight Into Diversity Magazine co-owner Holly Mendelson. Ms. Mendelson presented the Diversity Visionary Award to Shaundelle Goldsmith, JD, Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and presented Higher Education Excellence In Diversity (HEED) Award to Interim Provost Mark Stewart, PhD, MD, on behalf Downstate Medical Center. The Diversity Visionary Award honors individuals who have made significant contributions to diversity in higher education. It's the only national honor of its kind. The HEED Award recognizes colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity.

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Students from the Parkside Preparatory Academy and the High School for Medical Professions were inspired by 9th grader Michael L. Antoine's youthful remake of the Mayo Angelo's poem "I Rise." He named his version "We Rise." He told the audience "America the youth will save you see the light in our eyes…we rise, we rise, we rise!" to a standing ovation.


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