What makes a champion?
Ulysses Hammond, vice president for administration at Connecticut College, was honored Friday with the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut's 2012 William Crawford Distinguished Service award. The award is given to an outstanding member of the community who has exemplified the spirit of service to one's neighbors and has contributed to improving the quality of life in eastern Connecticut.
Connecticut Congressman Joe Courtney and chamber president Tony Sheridan presented Hammond with the award at a dinner in his honor Friday night. Hammond, who also serves as president of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Trust Fund and chairman of the Lawrence & Memorial Hospital board of directors, was honored for his extensive service to the greater New London community.
At the event, Connecticut College President Leo I. Higdon Jr. praised Hammond for his deep commitment to New London and the region, and especially to organizations that help young people succeed.
"At Connecticut College, he mentors students and he has built relationships with young people who not only see him as a role model, but as someone who cares deeply about helping others achieve success," Higdon said of Hammond, whom he credited with managing the building of the College's new science center and overseeing an $85 million campus improvement program.
"Ulysses is a man with high expectations," Higdon added. "He is a strong proponent of continuous improvement - a man who is never satisfied with the status quo."
Other speakers at the event praised Hammond for his leadership of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship program, which this year awarded $20,000 college scholarships to nine deserving students. He was also commended for his work with the hospital, as well as his volunteer and mentorship work. Gary Farrugia, publisher of The Day newspaper, called Hammond a "public service action figure."
"His long list of good deeds belongs in the Community Service Hall of Fame," Farrugia said.
Hammond dedicated his award to the young people in the audience, including students from Connecticut College, local community members and his own grandchildren and nephew, who attended the dinner from all across the country with members of Hammond's family.
"All my life I've tried to facilitate access - access to education; to social services; to financial institutions; to affordable, quality healthcare and more," Hammond said. "Awards like this are not for the recipient. They are for the young people."