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Four honored with Connecticut College's MLK Service Award

NEW LONDON, Conn. - Three members of the Connecticut College community and a local seventh-grader were honored with the college's Martin Luther King Jr. Service Award at a commemoration event recently. The annual award is given to honor those who uphold the legacy of Dr. King's work.

This year's recipients are: Senior Heather Day, Associate Professor of Human Development Sunil Bhatia, Vice President for Administration Ulysses Hammond and Dual Language Arts Academy seventh-grader Taylor Pierce.

Day, an American studies major and scholar in the college's Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy, is committed to working for social justice and racial equality. A native of Williamsburg, Mass., Day has focused her efforts on working with children and adolescents through organizations like the Southeastern Connecticut Women's Center, as a tutor with the Upward Bound Program and as a trained PeaceJam mentor, facilitating workshops on violence, oppression and peacemaking. "It's so important to me that youth of all colors are given the absolute best that life has to offer," she said.

Bhatia, an associate professor of human development and director of the college's Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy, was honored for his passionate work to end oppression and discrimination. In addition to serving as an adviser, mentor and role model to his students, Bhatia has helped raise $40,000 to build sanitation facilities for the most underserved communities in India through his work with the non-profit organization Shelter Associates.

Hammond, president of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Scholarship Trust Fund and co-founder of the Tutoring for Success/ Preparing Tomorrow's Leaders Today program in New London, works tirelessly to make it possible for all students to pursue higher education and become community leaders. Before coming to Connecticut College, Hammond served as chief executive officer of the District of Columbia Courts and was the first African American in the United States to administer an appellate and general jurisdiction court system. For his work in the community, both as a volunteer and a leader, Hammond has been awarded numerous community awards, including the 2006 Connecticut Man of the Year Award.

Pierce, this year's community member award-winner, launched a peer counseling group at her school when she found a need for such a program and initiated a class trip to a Spanish speaking country to help the student body gain a greater understanding of other cultures.

About Connecticut College

Situated on the coast of southern New England, Connecticut College is a highly selective private liberal arts college with 1900 students from all across the country and throughout the world. On the college's 750-acre arboretum campus overlooking Long Island Sound, students and faculty create a vibrant social, cultural and intellectual community enriched by diverse perspectives. The college, founded in 1911, is known for its unique combination of interdisciplinary studies, international programs, funded internships, student-faculty research and service learning.

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February 5, 2009