Abele Awards Ceremony Recognizes Current Students, Remembers Past Pioneers

Ceremony honors students working 'in the shadows' to demonstrate excellence in Duke and Durham

At the Abele Award Ceremony: Mary Lou Williams Center staff specialist Hildana Haileyesus, T'18, Center Director Chandra Guinn, and BSA acting president Ashleigh Smith, T'20.
At the Abele Award Ceremony: Mary Lou Williams Center staff specialist Hildana Haileyesus, T'18, Center Director Chandra Guinn, and BSA acting president Ashleigh Smith, T'20.

Julian Abele Awards program cover Members of the Duke community were honored for contributions to Duke and Durham during Duke’s Black Graduate and Professional Student Association and Black Student Alliance annual Julian Abele Awards April 13 at the Hope Valley Country Club.

First held in 1989, these awards are given annually to honor the significant achievements of Black community members and their allies at Duke. The awards are named in honor of Julian Abele, who designed Duke University’s West Campus.

Abele once said about his drawings “the shadows are all mine,” and the Abele Awards are presented to individuals or groups who have emerged from the shadows to demonstrate excellence in both the Duke and Durham communities. 

This year’s theme of “Nurturing the Roots of Resistance” referenced the 50th anniversary of the Allen Building Takeover as well as the 52nd anniversary of the Hope Valley Study-in. 

That message heeded the words of the late Dr. Brenda Armstrong, a pioneering activist while a student and faculty member at Duke, to finish what was “started in 1963 when the first African-American students crossed the threshold of Duke University with the same hopes for a collegiate experience as their majority counterparts.” Holding the ceremony at Hope Valley also saluted the Black football players who were not able to attend the senior football banquet in1967 at the then-segregated country club. 

“We gathered to reclaim time and space and nurture the roots of resistance for it is those roots that have nurtured us,” said Chandra Guinn, director of the Mary Lou Williams Center. 

The 2019 awards and honorees included:

 

UNDERGRADUATE

“Life of the Mind” Undergraduate Student of the Year: Mumbi Kanyogo T’19

 “Lifting As We Climb” Undergraduate Student of the Year: Camara Wooten T ‘20

 “Willing & Abele” Undergraduate Student of the Year: Qsanet Tekie T ‘19

 “Speaking Truth to Power” Undergraduate Student of the Year: De’ja Wood T ‘21

Undergraduate Mentor of the Year: Elmer Orellana

Ed Hill Undergraduate Organization of the Year: Duke Chapter of the NAACP

 

GRADUATE & PROFESSIONAL

Pratt School of Engineering Student of the Year: Brandon Hunter

Fuqua School of Business Student of the Year: Mofe Ajuyah

Divinity School Student of the Year: Krystal Bracy

Sanford School of Public Policy Student of the Year: Jayson Dawkins

Graduate School Student of the Year: Seneca Modest

Nicholas School of the Environment Student of the Year: Dieynabou Barry

School of Law Student of the Year: Emma Wade

School of Nursing Student of the Year: Vanessa Curlee

School of Medicine Student of the Year: Michael On’Gele

“Willing & Abele” Graduate Student of the Year: Chavis Jones

Curt Blackman Graduate Organization of the Year: Black Graduate and Professional Student Association (BGPSA)

Graduate Mentor of the Year: Erica Lovelace