The Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Awards honor members of the Dartmouth and Upper Valley community who have contributed significantly to social justice, peace, civil rights, education, public health, or environmental justice. Those eligible for the awards include Dartmouth, Geisel, Thayer, Tuck, and A&S students, graduate students, alumni, faculty, employees, and friends who have contributed significantly to peace, civil rights, education, public health, environmental justice or social justice. A separate category honors student and graduate student groups. This event is sponsored by the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, Institutional Diversity & Equity, Tucker Foundation, and Geisel School of Medicine.
The annual Lester B. Granger ′18 Award honors Dartmouth alumni/ae who have exhibited leadership and innovation while meeting community needs and benefiting an underserved population.
The late Lester Granger was one of three brothers who attended Dartmouth. His career included working as a teacher, coach, social worker and youth counselor, though he was best known for serving as the Executive Director of the Urban League for 20 years. A veteran of World War I, Granger was asked by President Roosevelt to be the Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Navy on Negro Personnel, and was nationally known for his leadership in eliminating racism and his attention to issues of poverty.
In 1947, Granger received the Navy′s Distinguished Civilian Service Medal, and also was awarded the President′s Medal for Merit from President Harry S. Truman. He became the first African-American to be nominated as President of the National Conference of Social Work in 1951, and in 1961 he was elected in Rome as the President of the International Conference of Social Work. In retirement, Granger taught at the college level as well as serving as a trustee for several colleges and nonprofit organizations. He remained an enthusiastic member of his Dartmouth class and actively participated in alumni activities and received an honorary degree from Dartmouth in 1946.
Karen GJ Lewis '74, NBCT
In June 2010, Karen Lewis was elected President of the 30,000-member Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), an organization of educators dedicated to advancing and promoting high-quality public education, improving teaching and learning conditions, and protecting members' rights. It is the third largest teachers' local in the country and the largest local union in Illinois.
Lewis led the CTU through the historic 2012 strike, holding the line against corporate-style reforms linking teacher pay to test scores and securing better pay, a recall policy for top teachers laid off in school closings, and 600 new teachers in art and music classes.
As Lewis sees it, two groups of people have a direct, personal investment in making sure that schools serve students: teachers and parents. A large part of her work has been about getting those primary stakeholders in the schools to recognize their common interest. This relationship-building work has paid off: A major reason teachers didn't give in during strike negotiations was that they had overwhelming community support, especially from parents.
As reported by The Dartmouth, "the strike represented a strong statement by the teachers against recent limitations to their collective bargaining rights, according to Lewis. As part of a new law... teachers in Chicago are not allowed to strike for non-economic reasons and must have 75 percent of their members vote to approve a strike before they can walk off the job. 'I think that the strike was for us and our members a repudiation of our lack of power,' Lewis said." (Oct. 22, 2012)
A member of CTU since 1988, Lewis taught high school chemistry in the Chicago Public Schools for 22 years. The only National Board Certified Teacher to lead a U.S. labor union, she also serves as Executive Vice President to the Illinois Federation of Teachers and as Vice President of the American Federation of Teachers. She believes that students, parents, teachers and community members are educators' natural allies, and states that her goal is to improve Chicago Public Schools and stand firmly against the privatization of public education.
Karen is a product of Chicago Public Schools, having attended Kozminski Elementary School and Kenwood High School until accepting early admission at Mount Holyoke College. She later transferred to Dartmouth, where she earned the distinction of being the only African American woman in the class of 1974. She holds one master's degree in inner-city studies education and a second in film and video.
Karen Lewis comes from a family of educators: her father, mother, and husband, John Lewis, who is now retired, all were CPS teachers.
The Barnet Family
The Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Award for Lifetime Achievement honors the Barnet family, including the late William Barnet II '34 and his wife, the late Mary Barnet, and their children William Barnet III '64 Tuck '65, Laurence G. Barnet '68, and Carol Barnet Fuchs P'90, for their commitment to social justice, especially in helping provide disadvantaged youth with access to education. Carol, a founder of Dartmouth's SEAD program, will accept the award on behalf of her family.
William "Bill" Barnet II '34 P'64 TuP'65 P'68 GP'90 GP'03 joined his family's business, William Barnet & Son, a processor and trader of synthetic fibers and resins, in 1934 and was associated in a leadership role for nearly 70 years, retiring as its chairman. As his family had done before him, he spent equal energy serving his community as a volunteer, board leader, and philanthropist. His board involvements included Albany Hospital, Russell Sage College, and several others. In addition to serving as past president of Congregation Beth Emeth and Jewish Family Services, he was founding chair of the Sponsor-A-Scholar program, a mentoring program to benefit students in Troy and Albany, New York. Bill and his wife, Mary Gunst Barnet, also worked to support programs on inter-culturalism, interfaith programming, and the reduction of discrimination within the greater New York Capital Region and at Mary's alma mater, Skidmore.
William "Bill" Barnet III '64 Tu'65 is CEO of The Barnet Company and Barnet Development Company and recently completed a second term as Mayor of Spartanburg, S.C. He is a trustee of The Duke Endowment, and has played a key role in South Carolina's education reform, including chairing the state's Education Oversight Committee. Devoting himself to enriching the life of his community through public service, he has worked to support such organizations as the Carolina Piedmont Foundation, United Way, Walker Foundation, Wofford College, Spartanburg Little Theater, Arts Partnership, Music Foundation of Spartanburg, and, at Dartmouth, SEAD, a Jewish Studies lecture series, and multi-faith programs within the Tucker Foundation. Bill and his wife, Valerie, have three children, Mary, William IV, and John.
Laurence G. "Larry" Barnet '68 P'03 is director of philanthropy for the Northeast Health Foundation, the fundraising and development branch of Northeast Health, a regional, not-for-profit network of healthcare, supportive housing, and community services. He formerly served as a member of The Eddy board and as chair of the capital campaign for Marjorie Doyle Rockwell Center, The Eddy's regional Alzheimer's center. Larry has been active in community organizations serving those in need in the Albany area, including the Council of Community Services, Parsons Child and Family Center, and numerous others. He is a past chair of the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation and of the local committee of the Anti-Defamation League. Larry serves on the board of Catholic Charities of Rensselaer County and chairs the interfaith committee of the Jewish Federation. Larry and his wife, Wendy, have three children, Jeffrey, Lauren Barnet Franz, and Caryn '03.
Carol Barnet Fuchs P'90 has been a longtime supporter of students from under-resourced backgrounds. She is one of the three founders of the Summer Enrichment at Dartmouth (SEAD) program, designed for pre-college teens from under-resourced urban and rural high schools. SEAD supports approximately 30 scholars each year. Carol also has been involved with the Philadelphia-based Sponsor-A-Scholar program, and a nationally-recognized program that provides students from Philadelphia's neighborhood high schools with the critical support and resources they need to achieve their dream of a college education. Carol and her husband, Rabbi Alan Fuchs, have two sons, Daniel '90 and Douglas.
The Holly Fell Sateia Award was established by President Jim Yong Kim and then-Provost Carol Folt in 2011 to honor the legacy of Holly Fell Sateia MALS'82, Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity, Emerita, and to recognize diversity as a vibrant part of Dartmouth's mission. This award recognizes a faculty or staff member at Dartmouth who is an enthusiastic and effective leader in advancing diversity and community.
All faculty and staff at Dartmouth are eligible for this award. Nominees should demonstrate an enduring interest in and ability to build and enhance diversity, through sustained effort and work, enriching the lives of surrounding community members. This enrichment helps foster a safe environment in which a community can learn, collaborate, and innovate.
Joseph O'Donnell, Geisel '71
Joe O'Donnell was born in Boston in 1947. He attended Boston Latin School and Harvard College, graduating summa cum laude in 1969. He was also elected to Phi Beta Kappa. In 1969, he first arrived on the Hanover plain to attend Dartmouth Medical School, then a two-year program, and that two-year experience transformed him. He became a strong advocate for Dartmouth's culture of caring, community of learning, and emphasis on mentoring and professional growth.
He returned to Harvard to obtain his MD there in 1973, but then came back to Dartmouth's Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital to do his medical training in Internal Medicine. Under the mentorship of Norris Cotton Cancer Center icons Herb Maurer and O. Ross McIntyre, O'Donnell entered the field of oncology and trained at the National Cancer Institute.
O'Donnell returned again to Dartmouth to assume the position of Chief of Oncology at the affiliated White River Junction VA Hospital. In 1985, Dean Robert McCollum asked him to join the Dean's Office as Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs, and he has served in the Dean's Office since. His passion has been to connect students to service opportunities locally, regionally, and globally and to pair these experiences with opportunities to reflect, using the arts and literature as a means to foster moral growth.
He has been especially interested in the doctor-patient relationship, prevention, communication, service and advocacy, eliminating disparities and promoting health equity, compassion in medicine, moral and professional formation in physicians, and creating an optimal environment for learning. He helped found the medical school's Community Service Committee, the Dartmouth chapter of Physicians for Human Rights, the school's international programs in Kosovo, its Urban Scholars program, and its chapter of the Gold Humanism in Medicine Honor Society. He helped found, and now leads, the NH-VT Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Program. He serves on the boards of the Harvard-Pilgrim Healthcare Foundation (now devoted to the control of childhood obesity) and the AVA Gallery in the Upper Valley.
Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop named Joe as his successor as the Senior Scholar of the C. Everett Koop Institute. In that capacity, he is working tirelessly to address health disparities, understand cross-cultural opportunities, bridge the fields of public health and medicine, prepare students as advocates for health, and use education to help reshape our healthcare system. Former Dartmouth President James O. Freedman called Joe the "Soul of Dartmouth Medical School."
Steven F. Cosson '90
Steve graduated from Dartmouth in 1990 and earned his MFA at USCD in 1999. He has been working in the theater for his entire career, and since he was an undergraduate has used it as a means to explore and raise consciousness about important social issues. In 2001, Steve founded The Civilians, an investigative theater company where he now serves as Artistic Director. The Civilians, as their mission statement suggests, tackles "the most vital questions of the present," delving into complex and under-explored subjects, integrally involving the public, and inviting the audience to be active participants through ongoing channels of dialogue.
As a company, The Civilians is committed to the creative exploration of the real world, giving voice to people, points of view, and complex relationships that often go unexplored in the dramatic events of our everyday lives. Steve, in particular, has used this forum to take on social issues of both grand and idiosyncratic scale. One project, "The Great Immensity," has nothing short of the future of the planet as its driving question, while another of Steve's projects explores the largely unknown annual beauty pageant that takes place in Bogota's national women's prison. Climate change, the evangelical movement in the US, the pornography industry, the Brooklyn community battle over the Atlantic Yards project, and Occupy Wall Street all have been subjects of his unique approach.
"In addition to the final productions, The Civilians' entire process engages diverse communities around these issues," wrote classmate Christopher Hogan '90. "From the initial information-gathering and interviews, through script development, and to community participation and education during productions, The Civilians provide an avenue for dialogue with an emphasis on seeking out voices not usually heard in other media. One of the critical elements of The Civilians' process is to treat every voice with dignity."
According to another classmate, Julie Kalish '90, "In each of his projects, Steve uses his sense of humor, compassion, and appreciation for the quirky elements of our humanity to help us open our eyes and see issues of social justice in ways we haven't necessarily seen them before. What strikes me most about Steve's work is that it always manages to create a sense of shared humanity with questions, individuals, and circumstances we previously may have considered 'foreign.' His work is non-judgmental ... and non-'preachy.' It's smart, charming, disarming ... and important."
Steve won an Obie in 2004 for the work of The Civilians, and his play "(I Am) Nobody's Lunch" won a coveted First Fringe award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2006. He has been a MacDowell Fellow, Fulbright Scholar in Colombia, and a Resident Director at New Dramatists, and he has twice participated in the Sundance Theatre Lab. His plays have been published by Oberon Books in the UK, the Dramatists Play Service, and Playscripts Inc.
Dartmouth Graduate Veterans Association
The Dartmouth Graduate Veterans Association (DGVA) works to unite, mobilize, and advocate for veterans in Dartmouth's Graduate Studies Program. Comprising military veterans from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, it has advanced the spirit of community service by volunteering countless hours and resources to the Dartmouth and Upper Valley community.
The DGVA has dedicated itself to making the world a better place through advocating for social justice, peace, civil rights, education, and public health. Members have carried out this goal through activities including grantwriting for and founding a weekly clothing and food drive for the Claremont Soup Kitchen; mentoring and coordinating activities for teenage boys residing at Orion's House in Newport; volunteering with the White River Junction VA Medical Center and the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in support of research on post-traumatic stress disorder and behavioral health; and visiting with wounded warriors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. They organized Dartmouth's inaugural Veterans' Day Banquet, bringing in prominent veterans to speak with students, alumni, faculty, and staff on the importance of service to our nation. In addition, they have served as panelists in government and War and Peace Studies classes. DGVA members also have served as a resource to faculty by discussing with them the cultural relationships in Afghanistan and their influence on education and healthcare for women and children, as well as other issues of women's rights in that country.
"While every member committed themselves to military service during a time of war," wrote founding member Stoney Portis MALS'13, "each is now a Dartmouth graduate student committed to advancing the idea of community service through peace. This is the cornerstone behind our organization—the continuation of service after the military. Essential to our mission is the strengthening of the relationship between veterans and the community around the academy."
Last Updated: 1/29/13