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ASU's Dr. Lonnie Williams is outstanding recipient of Silas Hunt Legacy Award

Sept. 17, 2009 -- Arkansas State University-Jonesboro's Dr. Lonnie Williams, associate vice chancellor for Student Affairs, is onDr. Lonnie Williamse of this year's four outstanding recipients of the Silas Hunt Legacy Award presented by the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. The Silas Hunt Legacy Award recognizes African Americans for their significant contributions to the community, state and nation. Throughout the 2009-10 academic year, the recipients will visit with students and the community on the University of Arkansas campus. The year of celebration will conclude at a black-tie event in April.

The Silas Hunt Legacy Award was created by the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville in 2005 and first awarded in 2006. This year’s recipients, including Dr. Williams, were nominated by the public and selected by a volunteer selection committee of University of Arkansas alumni, friends, faculty, students, and staff.

On Feb. 2, 1948, Silas Hunt became the first black student in modern times to attend a major Southern public university when he was admitted without litigation into the University of Arkansas School of Law. Hunt, who grew up in Texarkana, Ark., was a veteran of World War II and earned his undergraduate degree at Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College, now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Hunt died of tuberculosis in the spring of 1949 before finishing his law degree.

Dr. Lonnie Williams (B.S.B.A. 1978, M.Ed. 1984, Ed.S. 1991, Ed.D. 2001) currently serves as associate vice chancellor for Student Affairs at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. Prior to this position, he served as the assistant vice chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of Arkansas from 1991 until 2003. His service to the University of Arkansas during those years included board of directors’ positions for the Arkansas Alumni Association and the Black Alumni Society. He served on the chancellor’s diversity task force, the multicultural center creation committee, the Silas Hunt Hall dedication committee, and many other advising and governing bodies that sought to improve the college experience for minority students. Last year, Williams was presented with the Thomas E. "Pat" Patterson Education Award, presented by the Arkansas Democratic Black Caucus to an individual who fights for equality of educational opportunity for students and education of employees of color and those who are poor.

Dr. Rick Stripling, vice chancellor for Student Affairs at Arkansas State University-Jonesboro, says We are exceptionally proud to have Dr. Lonnie Williams as an integral and highly valued member of the Student Affairs administrative team. The Silas Hunt award is truly a recognition worthy of affirming the significant contributions Dr. Williams has made since he has been on the campus of ASU. His exemplary work in recruiting minorities is recognized across the campus and the state. One of the hallmarks of his expertise has been his implementation of new programs that promote student success. We are grateful to have him at ASU.”

"In 2006, the university recognized 10 exceptional individuals for their influence and commitment to bettering the world around them," said University of Arkansas Chancellor G. David Gearhart. "This year, we are pleased to add four impeccably worthy names to the list of Silas Hunt Legacy Award honorees. Silas Hunt was a trailblazer, and the individuals we honor this year are no different. They have each brought something unique to the University of Arkansas, and they have changed and inspired many lives. Better still, they continue to do so."

The other recipients of the Silas Hunt Legacy Award are Dr. Johnetta Cross Brazzell of McDonough, Ga.; Mr. Ronnie Brewer of Farmington, Ark., and Salt Lake City, Utah; and Mr. Gerald Jordan (B.A. 1970) of Fayetteville, Ark. See the Wednesday, Aug. 19 issue of Daily Headlines from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville for more information on the other recipients.

--Danielle Strickland, manager, Advancement Communications, Office of University Relations, contributed to this release.


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