Members of the Black Heritage Committee

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Eleven members of the Northeastern Illinois University community were honored during the 22nd Annual Black Heritage Awards ceremony on Feb. 23 at the Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies (CCICS). 

The Black Heritage Awards ceremony program was developed and planned by members of the Black Heritage Committee that included staff, faculty and students. Each recipient received an award etched with their name, the award they won and the traditional Sankofa bird, which symbolizes remembering the past in order to build a positive future.   

This year’s honorees were:

Katrina Bell-Jordan, Ph.D., Interim President of Northeastern Illinois University

Administrator Award of Excellence

Lisa Cooper-Gavin (B.S. ’90 Marketing, M.B.A. ’99), Author and Wealth Coach

Alumni Award of Excellence

Cedric Frison, Changemaker Fellow, NEIU Great Lakes FAST Fund Consortium 

Community Service Award of Excellence

Wanda Dukes, Administrative Assistant, CCICS
Dr. Sheena L. Warren Staff Award of Excellence

Kamau Rashid, Ph.D., Professor and Founding Director of Northeastern’s Leadership, Equity and Inquiry Ed.D. program (anticipated to launch in Fall 2025)
Faculty Award of Excellence

Christopher Merchant, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Psychology
Faculty Award of Excellence

Maurissa Williams (current student, B.A. Psychology, Biology minor)
Wamucii Njogu Outstanding Student Award

Duchelynn Joanne Fanfan (current student, B.A. Social Work)
Student Leadership Award of Excellence

Ebony Jiminez-Lee, Northeastern Staff Psychotherapist and Mental Health Case Manager
Peer Wellness Coach Coordinator
William “Doc” Speller Lifetime Achievement Award

Kyle P. Goodwin, Ph.D., Instructor, Counselor Education
Dr. Melvin Cleveland Terrell Award in Research and Literature (chosen by Dr. Melvin C. Terrell)

Gina Wells, Ph.D., Instructor, TESOL
Dean Murrell Higgins Duster Legacy Award (chosen by Dean Emeritus Murrell Higgins Duster)

The Black Heritage Awards and the Black History Month events were sponsored by the Office of the President, Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs, Office of Student Affairs, Division of Institutional Advancement, Black History/Heritage Month Committee, Angelina Pedroso Center for Diversity and Intercultural AffairsJacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, Black Student Success Committee and Black Caucus. 


Top photo: Members of the Black Heritage Committee