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The Du Bois/Mandela Award for Scholarship, Leadership, and Service

Presented to students for their significant scholarly achievements (cumulative 3.5 GPA or above) coupled with exemplary contributions to the campus and local community through service and continued civic engagement.

Our Namesakes: Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois and Nelson Mandela

W.E.B. Du Bois was an American sociologist, civil rights activist, and a founder of the NAACP. He was the first African American to earn his PhD. from Harvard and one of the most influential black intellectuals of the early 20th century. He produced numerous works over his long life on racism, colonialism, and black experiences. His radical political positions often put him at odds with the U.S. government. In 1961 Dr. Du Bois moved the Ghana where he died at the age of 95. 

Nelson Mandela was known worldwide for his activism to abolish apartheid. A political prisoner for 27 years, Mandela was sentenced to life in prison for high treason and conspiracy against the state in connection to activist work against apartheid. After his release in 1990 he became the first President of the democratic Republic of South Africa, leading the country after the downfall of apartheid. He earned a Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for his work in the abolition of apartheid and a peaceful transition to a democratically ruled South Africa.

As a student of color on Ithaca’s campus, your presence in and of itself is a testament of your hard work and perseverance. It is very easy to enter a new space excited to hold a position of leadership, and ready to create new traditions based on the issues you’ve faced as a student of color in a predominately white institution/town. You may have wonderful ideas that can provide new opportunities for students on campus, or residents off campus. Many times, change is a good thing. Sometimes it’s needed. However, I encourage you to study the communities you are entering or belong to. Often times you will find that there are people working towards the same goals as you, who have already built the foundation needed to serve the needs of their communities. I urge you to listen with the desire of understanding, not responding. I encourage you to participate in the traditions already set in place. People were here before you, and people will come after. Being a leader involves community and relationship building. The positions you hold are not about you, it’s about the people you are serving.

Alexzandria Sanchez | Effectively Engaging Community

 I believe if you're passionate about what you study, learning how to do it, isn't busy work it's important work.

Katelyn Tai | Du Bois/Mandela Awardee