AAFSC celebrates 25 years

Presents professor with Diversity Award


Photo by: Kei'yona Jordon

President Carter holds up a plaque with a list of the founding members of the African American Faculty and Staff Coalition.

At the African American Faculty and Staff Coalition’s (AAFSC) 25th Annual Gala, FMU President Fred Carter established a new $20,000 scholarship in honor of AAFSC President Linda Sullen.

The AAFSC hosted their 25th Annual Gala Platinum Vision: A Coalition for the Future at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 18 in the Chapman Auditorium. In connection with announcing the new scholarship, the AAFSC also recognized efforts to promote diversity at FMU.

Sullen said the recognition reinforces the important messages of diversity at FMU and in the Coalition.

“The people make our motto true: together we can,” Sullen said.

Rebecca Lawson, former director of the Office of Counseling and Testing and the first FMU staff member to receive the Diversity Award, presented the Diversity Award to Daniel Brauss, assistant professor of mathematics. Lawson said she believed Brauss deserved to receive this award because he is committed to quality teaching, being available to his students and an underlying belief in inversion and conclusion.

Tevin Leary, an FMU alumni, said his time with the AAFSC showed him the power of members of the FMU community promoting inclusivity and diversity.

“With some hard work and perseverance, you can be the right person at the right place, at the right time, and be someone to everyone,” Leary said.

After Leary gave his speech, Arthenius Jackson, an FMU alumna and former member of the AAFSC, gave a musical performance.

Kayla Duncan, assistant director of the Office of Counseling and Testing, said in the AAFSC’s 25-year history, it has continued to provide numerous enrichment opportunities for the FMU community. In light of this, the AAFSC has created new partnerships with the psychology and sociology departments and provides Black history programs every year. Duncan also said FMU should continue to offer the community pertinent cultural trainers to promote a positive narrative in the aftermath of recent racial issues in the U.S.

The AAFSC provides many scholarships to students to help them pursue their education. The Coalition spotlights the work of those who are dedicated to celebrating diversity and inclusiveness in the FMU community. The AAFSC has established six named scholarships that have supported 202 recipients at FMU, according to Carter.

For some of the scholarship recipients, the AAFSC’s work has helped bring them closer to their educational goals and their dreams. Astou Aw, a senior supply-chain management major, said receiving the scholarship allowed her to further pursue her education and honor her mother, who recently passed away.

The Coalition started with 32 men and women who came together to create the AAFSC. According to Carter, they perceived an acute need at FMU to change and make things better. Currently, seven of the 32 founding members still work at FMU.