On Thursday, May 11, the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement hosted its annual Evening of Honors, celebrating two remarkable students and one outstanding community leader. All of whom embody the life and legacy of Heman Marion Sweatt, the first African American admitted into the UT Law School.
This year’s event marked two important milestones, the 10th anniversary of the DDCE, and a shift in leadership as Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, vice president of diversity and community engagement, prepares to depart UT Austin and assume his new role as president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
Dressed in black ties and sequined gowns, a large gathering of friends and colleagues came together to pay tribute to the students, alumni and civic leaders who have made a positive impact on campus and in the community.
Here are a few highlights from the event. All photos can be found on our Flickr site.
Dr. Aileen Bumphus, associate vice president of the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence, moderated the program, giving a warm welcome to the presenters and honorees.
Pastor Jennifer Cumberbatch, of Agape Christian Ministries, delivered the invocation.
Members of Praise Dance and Mime Ministry began the festivities with an artistic performance of the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
UT Austin President Gregory L. Fenves and Dr. Vincent, opened the ceremony with a nod to the DDCE’s decade of excellence, and the many campus and community leaders who have made the university a better, more equitable place.
Pastor Joseph C. Parker Jr. (right) and Marlen Whitley—both UT Austin alums—reflected on the past achievements of the DDCE and the road ahead in a speech titled “Ten Years of the DDCE: Then and Now.”
Student Legacy Awardees LaDee Maxie (B.A., College of Liberal Arts/College of Education, ’17) and Dallawrence Dean (Ph.D., Higher Education Administration, ‘17) gave heartfelt acceptance speeches, thanking the many friends and mentors who supported them during their academic journey.
This year’s Legacy Award winner Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) gave a poignant speech about the state of diversity in higher education and highlighted the great strides UT Austin has made over the years in recruiting and retaining more students of color.
The celebration concluded with good food, a sparkly signature drink called “The Vincent,” dancing and music provided by DJ Miles.