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Source: Myra Gordon, 785-532-6276, mygordon@k-state.edu
Photos available. Contact media@k-state.edu or 785-532-6415.
News release prepared by: Katie Mayes, 785-532-6415, kmayes@k-state.edu

Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2009

TWO K-STATE STUDENTS, FACULTY MEMBER TO RECEIVE HONORS FOR THEIR DIVERSITY EFFORTS

MANHATTAN -- The work of two Kansas State University students and a faculty member in the College of Business Administration are being recognized with Commerce Bank Presidential awards for helping multicultural students get the most out of their college education.

Robert Gomez, senior in elementary education, Shawnee, and Deborah Muhwezi, senior in mass communications, Wichita, are receiving the Commerce Bank Presidential Award for Enhancing Multiculturalism. The award, first given in 1997, recognizes outstanding student contributions. Each student receives a plaque and $500.

Dawne Martin, the College of Business Administration's assistant to the dean for diversity, will receive the Commerce Bank Presidential Faculty/Staff Award for Distinguished Services to Historically Underrepresented Students. The award was established in 1978 to recognize outstanding individual contributions to the development of high-quality education for students of color at K-State. It includes a plaque and $2,500.

The three award recipients will be honored at a reception from 3:30-5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010, at the K-State Alumni Center.

Gomez has been actively involved in social causes at K-State. He is a member of Sigma Lambda Beta fraternity, was president of the Mortar Board Senior Honor Society and served as an ambassador for K-State's College of Education. He also was an undergraduate representative to the College of Education's Diversity for Community Committee and has written opinion columns for the K-State Collegian student newspaper, most of which focused on issues of equity, social justice, multiculturalism or community service. He took part in K-State's Developing Scholars program, has received numerous scholarships and was a finalist for the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship. In addition, he received K-State's Inspire by Example Award in spring 2009. Gomez is a graduate of Shawnee Mission Northwest High School.

Muhwezi is a Tilford-DOW Scholar, a member of K-State's Multicultural Student Honor Society, and has been on the K-State College of Arts and Sciences' dean's list since 2005. She served as vice president of K-State's Black Student Union, helped found K-State's chapter of Diverse Mass Communicators and has been a writer and editor at the K-State Collegian student newspaper. She also is a member of United Black Voices Gospel Choir, the National Panhellenic Council and is president of Delta Sigma Theta sorority. Muhwezi is a graduate of Wichita Heights High School.

"Both Deborah Muhwezi and Robert Gomez have worked tirelessly to enhance diversity and multiculturalism at K-State, in the classroom and as members and leaders of multiple student and community organizations. These young people are intelligent, self-aware and already award-winning," said Myra Gordon, K-State's associate provost for diversity and dual career development. "They have made K-State a better place and will be long remembered. They represent the very best of all K-State students and we can be confident in their ability to positively affect the long-term health and sustainability of our world."

Since joining K-State's College of Business Administration in 1998, Martin has enthusiastically worked on issues of diversity. She launched the Multicultural Business Association in 2002, served on the President's Commission on Multicultural Affairs and was a key player in the recent awarding of a $50,000 Wal-Mart/Semillas grant to implement a retention program for incoming Latino students at K-State. She has actively pursued and coordinated several diversity-related programs for K-State students, many of which have corporate sponsors. She helps recruit high school students from underrepresented backgrounds and mentors them after they arrive. She also continues to teach.

Since 2005 -- the year Martin became assistant to the dean for diversity -- the College of Business Administration has had a more than 33 percent increase in its number of multicultural students.

"Dawne Martin is one of the most selfless, caring people on this campus. Her service to multicultural students began well before such duties became part of her job description and continues during the summers when she is not paid," Gordon said. "Her work has contributed to the university's ability to attract substantial corporate funding for diversity programs and to multicultural student enrollment increases in her college and all across the university."

"The advancement the College of Business Administration has made in the area of diversity enhancement is, in large part, attributed to the commitment and service of Dr. Dawne Martin," said Yar M. Ebadi, dean of K-State's College of Business Administration. "She has contributed countless hours outside of the classroom to promote diversity at every level. Her impact in the area of diversity has led the college to establish a firm foundation of acceptance, respect and appreciation of people from multicultural backgrounds. It is on this foundation that all future opportunities for diversity enhancement will build."