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2017 Social Justice Awards Honorees

Full Awards Archive

Student Organization

Divest Dartmouth

Divest Dartmouth is an independent organization of students and community members who work on issues involving climate change and global warming. They are part of the national movement at colleges and universities calling for divestment from companies that extract fossil fuels. The group has asked the College to stop direct investment in these companies in favor of alternative investments with comparable rates of return. Group members are working to curb the effects of climate change, which they say is a threat to life on the planet.

Holly Fell Sateia Award

Shawn O'LearyShawn O’Leary
Director of the Office for Diversity and Community Engagement at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth

Shawn has been working to create innovative programs in the social justice field for over twenty years since he first volunteered at the Spotted Eagle Elementary School in Duluth, Minnesota. He is a member of the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe in Northern Minnesota where his family has harvested wild rice for generations.

For over ten years Shawn has been the Director of the Office for Diversity and Community Engagement at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. Shawn is responsible for developing, implementing and overseeing The Geisel School of Medicine's diversity programs and executing its mission of promoting a climate of unity and respect. He is the academic advisor to the Urban and Rural Health Scholars Programs. He also serves as an advisor to minority students and student groups and works to ensure the success and retention of all minority students, faculty and staff. Most recently, Shawn has begun work on the Learning Collaborative on Culture, an initiative to increase diversity in the health professions schools throughout New Hampshire. Shawn was selected by medical students for induction into the Gold Humanism in Medicine Honor Society for Outstanding Mentorship.

Shawn comes to Geisel from the University of Maine where he served as Assistant Director of the Native American Center. Prior to coming to New England, Shawn worked in his home state of Minnesota developing minority recruitment and retention strategies, based on an individualized student service philosophy, at the Center of American Indian and Minority Health, University of Minnesota Duluth School of Medicine. He chaired the Indians into Medicine advisory board and was the liaison between the medical school and the thirty-four reservation communities in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. Shawn also worked for the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe's Educational Talent Search Program where he worked to promote the educational needs of first generation American Indian students.

Wherever Shawn lives and works, he is actively engaged in the community. He served as a youth hockey coach and has coached over forty hockey teams the past nineteen years in Minnesota, Maine, New Hampshire and Canada. While in Minnesota, he was appointed by Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson to the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee for his work with high school and college dropouts in the correctional system.

Shawn is married, has four sons and lives in Norwich, Vermont.

Ongoing Commitment

Rebecca Holcombe
Secretary of Education in the State of Vermont

holcombeRebecca Holcombe joined the Agency of Education in January 2014. Prior to joining the Agency, Rebecca taught at the middle school, high school and university levels. She taught social studies and science before becoming the principal at the Fairlee School. While at Fairlee, she helped lead the district through the formation of the Rivendell Interstate School District.

After a decade away from Vermont, Rebecca was thrilled to move back and place her two children in Vermont schools a few years ago. She appreciates the high levels of public involvement and debate about how to improve education for our children that characterize Vermont schools.

Rebecca researched issues related to high stakes testing and worked on projects related to organizational learning, school leadership and principal development while pursuing her doctorate at Harvard. More recently, as Director of Dartmouth College's Teacher Education Program, she worked with pre-service teachers and taught a course on Education Politics and Policy. Rebecca holds a BA in History from Brown University, an MBA from the Simmons School of Management, an M.Ed. and Ed.D. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Rebecca also completed coursework for her principal certification at Lyndon State College and received her preparation as a teacher at the Upper Valley Educators Institute.


Lifetime Achievement

Leonard Greenhalgh, PhD
Professor of Management at Tuck; Director, Programs for Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses; Director, Native American Business ProgramsLen Teaching

Len Greenhalgh is The Tuck School’s Faculty Director of Programs for Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses as well as Professor of Management. He comes from a practitioner background that includes managing purchasing in a multinational corporation, entrepreneurship, and management consulting.  Born and raised in England and educated in the United States, his Ph.D. from Cornell University builds on undergraduate studies in engineering and science and an MBA. 

He has been at the Tuck School since 1978, and his involvement in minority business education began with Tuck’s inaugural program for minorities in 1980. He has also taught at Oxford University, Stanford University, Cornell University, and MIT.  He has done executive education in conjunction with Dartmouth, Stanford, Oxford, Cornell, London Business School, University of North Carolina, and Duke.

In addition to MBA teaching, he has done a considerable amount of executive education, research, and consulting, involving multiple organizations.  He has traveled in more than 40 countries. International assignments include the UK, Australia, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Spain, Switzerland, and Canada.

He is the author of Minority Business Success: Refocusing on the American Dream (2011, with James H. Lowry). His areas of expertise include (1) work force and supply chain diversity; (2) the local economies of inner cities and Indian reservations; (3) entrepreneurial business; and (4) effects of globalization and changing demographics on business. He has also written more than 150 articles, book chapters, monographs, cases, and professional papers.  He has been appointed by The White House to the Advisory Board for the Special Trustee for American Indians. His work in helping minority business is reflected in the Lifetime Achievement Award conferred by the Minority Business Development Agency, US Department of Commerce, his appointment as a Board Member, Urban Entrepreneur Partnership, his listing among 100 Men in Supplier Diversity, and a DiversityPlus Top 30 Champion of Diversity.

Lester B. Granger ’18 award for Lifetime Achievement

Kevin Curnin ’86
Partner,Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, New York; Founding Director of Stroock’s Public Service Project

Kevin Curnin

Kevin J. Curnin is a Partner and the Founding Director of Stroock’s Public Service Project, which he launched in 2001. His responsibilities include managing the program throughout the firms offices, developing new access to justice projects and poverty-based programs, leading cases, and advising associates and partners with their pro bono litigation and transactional work.

Mr. Curnin has handled or supervised a broad range of matters within the Public Service Project, from special education hearings to family and housing court matters, as well as prisoner rights and civil rights cases. During his tenure, Mr. Curnin and the Public Service Project have won dozens of awards from city, state and national organizations, both public and private, including the American Bar Association and the National Legal Aid & Defender Association. He has been recognized by many NYC legal services organizations including Sanctuary for Families, Her Justice, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, Lawyers Alliance and the Urban Justice Law Center.

Mr. Curnin was a pioneer in transactional legal services for community economic development, on behalf of micro-entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations. He was also a leader in emergency legal response efforts after 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and Superstorm Sandy. Under his guidance, Stroock has been deeply involved in anti-human trafficking efforts and disability rights.

Kevin has sat on many boards, including at Advocates for Children and the Global Workers Justice Alliance, and is currently on the Advisory Board of the Feerick Center for Social Justice at Fordham and the board of the Touch Foundation, which engages in healthcare reform in Tanzania. He is currently the President of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel. He regularly participates in panels and conferences, and writes frequently on the topics of pro bono legal services and social justice, including most recently, “Goodness First, then Greatness.”

In addition to his degree from Dartmouth, where he won the English Department’s Feinstein Prize, Kevin has degrees from University College Dublin and Fordham Law School. He lives in Maine with his wife and three children. His brother Paul is Dartmouth '83; his brother Mark is Dartmouth '90; and his niece Alexandra is Dartmouth '19.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Awards

Dartmouth’s Social Justice Awards, co-sponsored by the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee, Office of Institutional Diversity & Equity, William Jewett Tucker Center, Dartmouth Center for Service, and Geisel School of Medicine, were established to recognize members of the Dartmouth community including alumni/ae, current and former faculty, staff, student groups and others with ties to the college, who have contributed significantly to peace, civil rights, education, public health, environmental justice, or social justice.
The awards honor members of the Dartmouth community who have demonstrated their compassion, perseverance, courage, and leadership by engaging in the difficult work of fostering human dignity and our common humanity through their projects, programs, and visions.
The Awards are givenin four categories:  Emerging Leadership, Ongoing Commitment, Lifetime Achievement and Student Organization.

The Lester B. Granger ’18 Award for Lifetime Achievement

Presented by the Dartmouth Center for Service

The William Jewett Tucker Foundation established the Lester B. Granger ’18 Award in the spring of 2002. Lester Granger was one of four brothers who attended Dartmouth College. His distinguished career included working as a teacher, coach, social worker, and youth counselor; 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. Among other honors, Granger received the Navy’s Distinguished Civilian Service Medal and was awarded the President’s Medal for Merit by President Truman. In 1951 he became the first African American to be nominated as president of the National Conference of Social Work, 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 and served as a trustee for several colleges and non-profit organizations. He remained an enthusiastic member of his Dartmouth class and actively participated in alumni activities. He received an honorary degree from Dartmouth in 1946.

The Granger Award is presented annually to a Dartmouth College graduate or graduates whose lifelong commitment to public service has been exemplary. Granger Award recipients have exhibited leadership and innovation in meeting community needs and benefiting an underserved population

The Holly Fell Sateia Award

The Holly Fell Sateia Award was established by President Jim Yong Kim and 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.


Rebecca Holcombe: Social Justice Award for Ongoing Leadership

Kevin Curnin ’86:  The Lester B. Granger ’18 Award for Lifetime Achievement

Presented by the Dartmouth Center for Service

Shawn O'Leary: The Holly Fell Sateia Award

Francesca A. Gundrum ’17: Social Justice Award for Student Organization


Sponsored by the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, Office of Institutional Diversity & Equity, Dartmouth Center for Service and Geisel School of Medicine.

Last Updated: 12/18/17