West Chester University Society Honors Community and Student Leaders with Inaugural Awards

The Society of West Chester University(L-R): Journey Washington, student co-host of the MLK Brunch, with ECAY members Mya Hill, Perez Abhuilmen, and Kyanna Randolph (president). /Submitted Image

WEST CHESTER, PA — The spirit of commitment to social consciousness and inclusivity was in full display at the annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Brunch hosted by the Society of West Chester University. This year’s event was marked by the introduction of two new awards: the Larry Dowdy Community Service Award and the Student Service Leadership Award.

The inaugural Larry Dowdy Community Service Award was bestowed upon Lawrence A. Dowdy ’73, a figure deeply woven into the fabric of West Chester University. Dowdy, who could not attend the ceremony due to travel, has a legacy that stretches back to his undergraduate years at what was then known as West Chester State College.

Following his graduation, Dowdy served in multiple roles at the university, including residence hall director and assistant director of the Act 101 Program. His dedication to higher education led him to Cheyney University in 1976, where he held various positions, including dean of men, dean for student services, and Affirmative Action officer.

Dowdy’s journey came full circle in 1983 when he returned to his alma mater as the Affirmative Action officer. Over time, he ascended through the ranks, serving as special assistant to the president, executive assistant to the president, and government relations officer before being named executive deputy to the president and governmental relations officer in 1999. He held this position until his retirement in 2014.

Known for his mentorship of students and staff, Dowdy chaired several committees, including the Campus Climate Intervention Team, the Board of Governors Scholarship Committee, and the Martin Luther King, Jr., Celebration Committee. His contributions have been recognized with numerous awards, including the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Humanitarian Award and the WCU Presidential Medallion for Service. The Dowdy Multicultural Center stands as a testament to his enduring impact.

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The Student Service Leadership Award, also making its debut this year, was presented to Empower Communities Around You (ECAY), a multicultural community service organization. ECAY’s mission is to uplift and empower individuals within the community through meaningful service opportunities, special programs, and collaborative events on campus. The organization also strives to create a safe space for students, giving them a voice and enhancing their college experience.

The Society, composed of university faculty, staff, and administrators, is committed to promoting an intellectual standard rooted in excellence and the public mission of higher education, inspired by Frederick Douglass. The Society’s annual fundraising efforts aim to increase the economic options available to the student body through scholarships. The current academic year officers include Andria Young as president, Stephanie Reid as vice president, Tiffany Jones as treasurer, and Ronda Taylor as secretary.

The introduction of these new awards underscores the Society’s dedication to honoring those who embody the spirit of community service and student leadership, enriching the university community and beyond.

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