Center for Multicultural Initiatives

Student leaders to be honored with Keeper of the Dream Awards

Nine students will be recognized for helping break down stereotypes and promote racial and cultural understanding.

Keeper of the Dream Award Recipients

Top row from left to right: Ghazi Ghazi, Julia Alexander, Chukwuebuka Unobagha, Destinee Rule and Gicentroy Henry III; Bottom row from left to right: Ernesto Duran-Gutierrez, Dezirae Robinson, Benjamin Lane and Flavio Di Stefano

icon of a calendarJanuary 10, 2019

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Student leaders to be honored with Keeper of the Dream Awards
Keeper of the Dream Award Recipients

For helping break down stereotypes and promote racial and cultural understanding, nine students will be recognized during Oakland University’s 27th annual Keeper of the Dream Awards Celebration. The event takes place from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 21 in the Oakland Center Founders Ballrooms on OU’s campus.   

The 2019 Keeper of the Dream Award winners are:

Julia Alexander

Julia Alexander, a Political Science major from Troy, Michigan

Flavio Di Stefano

Flavio Di Stefano, an International Relations, and French Language and Literature major from Beverly Hills, Michigan

Ernesto Duran-Gutierrez

Ernesto Duran-Gutierrez, a Dance major from Saginaw, Michigan

Ghazi Ghazi

Ghazi Ghazi, an International Relations major from Macomb Township, Michigan

Gicentroy Henry III

Gicentroy Henry III, a Political Science major from Novi, Michigan

Benjamin Lane

Benjamin Lane, a Communication major from Novi, Michigan

Dezirae Robinson

Dezirae Robinson, a Doctor of Physical Therapy major from Detroit, Michigan

Destinee Rule

Destinee Rule, a Political Science major from Maywood, Illinois

Chukwuebuka Unobagha

Chukwuebuka Unobagha, a Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences major from Saginaw, Michigan 

Jeff Johson to serve as keynote speaker


This year’s event features keynote speaker Jeff Johnson, an award-winning journalist and communications strategist. Johnson has conducted interviews with former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for BET News, and provides regular content on the nationally syndicated Rickey Smiley Morning Show. His social and political commentaries have been published nationally, and he is often sought out for commentary and analysis about issues related to race, politics, popular culture and socio-economics by all the major networks.

Jeff Johnson

Jeff Johnson will be the keynote speaker at OU's Keeper of the Dream Awards Celebration.

“Mr. Johnson is a master storyteller and will be next in a long line of excellent speakers we have had on campus for our annual Keeper of the Dream scholarship awards event,” said Omar Brown-El, senior director of OU’s Center for Multicultural Initiatives. “Attendees will enjoy hearing his message that comes from his unique perspective.”

In addition to his journalism work, Johnson provides strategic insight and messaging consulting to clients in the private, public and entertainment sectors. He serves as a managing principal of the Baltimore-based strategy firm JIJ Communications, where his client list includes Fortune 500 companies, political institutions and celebrities. As a consultant, Johnson provided leadership for the City of Cleveland’s communications strategy surrounding the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Established in 1993, The Keeper of the Dream Awards Celebration pays tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for his pioneering work on behalf of civil rights. The event also awards scholarships to OU undergraduates who have contributed to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy by breaking down racial and cultural barriers.

The Keeper of the Dream Awards Celebration is sponsored by Oakland University’s Center for Multicultural Initiatives.

The nine student scholarship sponsors this year include Autoliv, Beaumont Health, Flagstar Bank, KeyBank Foundation, The Lynne and Lia McIntosh Scholarship, Marshall Family Scholar Foundation, Oakland University Alumni Association, Oakland University Credit Union and St. Joseph Mercy Oakland. The Vision Sponsor is Willis Towers Watson.

 Keeper of the Dream also marks the start of African American Celebration Month at Oakland, which runs through February 14. The campus community will participate in a series of events highlighting the importance of diversity and raising awareness of African American contributions to society. This year’s theme is “Our History, Our Journey.”

 For more information, contact OU’s Center for Multicultural Initiatives at (248) 370-4404 or cmi@oakland.edu.

 

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