Print This Issue

2011 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Involvement Awards

February 1, 2011, Volume 57, No. 20

On January 20, the sixteenth annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Interfaith Program and Awards Commemoration took place in Bodek Lounge, Houston Hall, with a keynote address, performances and the presentation of the Community Involvement Awards and the MLK Community Education Award in honor of Dr. Judith Rodin.

In honor of the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s recognition that community service is essential to the struggle for equality, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Symposium on Social Change Executive Committee of the University of Pennsylvania presented these awards to the following:


Seth Williams—As district attorney for the City of Philadelphia, Seth Williams has had an unbridled drive to make things better in the intricate web of the law between the defense and the prosecution. A promoter of non-violence, he has pushed the buttons on equality and civil rights violations and urged others in law enforcement to help him in this gallant effort.

Lois Fernandez—Lois Fernandez’ life mantras have been “give back” and “know who you are.” Born and raised in South Philadelphia, she worked as a gang worker and taught young men and women to love themselves and each other. During a trip to Nigeria she was told about the Oshun festival and wanted to bring the idea of the festival home. She and a friend created the one block long Oshun festival in 1975 and changed the name to the Odunde Festival in 1976. Thirty-five years later, Odunde is the largest African-American street festival on the east coast. It covers 10 city blocks and has over 200 vendors.


Nichole Nelson—As an undergraduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Ms. Nelson strives to empower minority communities through positive imagery, dialogue and inclusive politics. Since her sophomore year, Ms. Nelson has been involved with The Little Black Book, the University’s sole African-American publication. As editor, she has increased circulation from 250 to 2,600 in the past 2 years. In addition to serving on the Penn Democrats’ Political Committee, she was active as the programming tri-chair of the United Minorities Council and the vice president of the Onyx Senior Honor Society. Her Ronald E. McNair Scholars research project investigates the recent violence between Asian and African-American students at South Philadelphia High School.


Andrea Blount—In her professional role as the outpatient trauma practice educator/injury prevention coordinator at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Andrea Blount is actively involved in promoting violence prevention in the community. Additionally, she is a member of Circle of Women, a nursing outreach committee which presents prevention programs, including but not limited to bicycle safety, drunk driving prevention, firearm violence prevention and community CPR. While promoting healthy behavior and violence prevention, she continuously engages young adults and encourages further education, especially in health related fields.

Rodin Education Award

Sherilynn Kimble—Dedicated, passionate, empathetic, forward thinker and a champion for children are only a few of the descriptors of Sherilynn Kimble. For 25 years, Ms. Kimble has been the anchor for The Caring Center’s achievement to educate young people in West Philadelphia. She respects the gifts and talents of others and often incorporates them in her plans of action. She has also been instrumental in assisting other child care providers to raise their standards of excellence in serving young children. Ms. Kimble believes in the concept “it takes a village to raise a child.” She models this by engaging everyone in the success of our children.

Dr. Andrew Binns—Andrew Binns, vice provost for education, oversees all aspects of graduate and undergraduate education at Penn. He chairs the Council of Undergraduate Deans, the Council of Graduate Deans and the Graduate Council of Faculties. His commitment to greater diversity and achievement in undergraduate student population with special attention to first generation, low income and under-represented minority groups is exhibited in his work with the Faculty Council for Achievement and Access. Dr. Binns believes in dreams. He believes in Penn’s dream to make a Penn education available to as many of the most talented and hard working students as possible. He understands that dreams need opportunities to be realized.


Recipients of the 2011 Community Involvement Awards and the MLK Community
Education Award in honor of
Dr. Judith Rodin.

From left to right:

Seth Williams,

Andrea Blount,

Sherilynn Kimble,

Andrew Binns,

Nichole Nelson and

Lois Fernandez.

MLK Winners

Related: See Update AT PENN for information about the rescheduled Jazz for King, this Friday, February 4, at 6 p.m.


Almanac - February 1, 2011, Volume 57, No. 20