For more than 17 seventeen years, Clemson has honored the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through the Martin Luther King, Jr. Excellence in Service Award. Presented annually, the award recognizes individuals who embody the spirit of Dr. King’s vision of the beloved community, which he defines as a “a community inclusive of all people, regardless of race, gender, class, ethnicity; a community that recognizes people as individuals first, each with a unique set of life experiences that shapes their particular perspective; a community where varied perspectives are brought together in a collective effort to achieve goals for the common good.”
That tradition continued this year, when President Jim Clements and Chief Diversity Officer Lee Gill presented a faculty member, a student and a community member with the awards at the Jan. 22 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Service, held on Clemson’s main campus.
Mary Beth Kurz, Ph.D. is described as an exceptional leader in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences. As 2016-17 Faculty Senate president, she launched several initiatives to discover inequities in employment and opportunities for underrepresented groups. Kurz chaired the senate’s Committee on Committees and currently serves as Faculty Manual Editor. She and a team updated the faculty grievance procedures manual and also developed an Excel-based tool to help her students check their own IE degree plans.
Outside of the university, Kurz chairs the Board of Directors for the Clemson Aquatic Team and serves as a Girl Scout Troop leader.
Amanda Arroyo is a founding-member of the Beta Eta chapter of Hermandad de Sigma Iota Alpha Inc., Clemson’s first multicultural Greek letter organization.
This organization brings awareness of the Hispanic community, and provides awareness and education on domestic violence, gender equality and cancer awareness.
The organization raises the profile of Clemson’s Hispanic community and serves as a resource on issues related to domestic violence, gender equality and cancer.
After hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, Arroyo brought together Hispanic organizations to host a supplies drive to benefit people in the affected area. She also helped facilitate conversations between different campus groups to allow people to be seen for who they are and how their individual experiences contribute to the Clemson experience.
Sheila Crawford is a community leader and pillar in the Pickens County community where she served as president of the NAACP for more than 20 years. Crawford lends a strong voice to educational relations between the area’s African-American community, especially young people, and law enforcement. She has been instrumental in educational relations between the area’s African-American community, specifically with the youth and law enforcement. In 2012, members of the South Carolina House of Representatives passed resolution H 4713 to honor her for the many contributions made to her community and church. Crawford served as a youth advisor and youth choir director for 32 years at New Hope Baptist Church in Pickens and she served on various committees for Tri-County Technical College. A board member of the Pickens County Performing Arts, Crawford also chairs the scholarship program for the Clearview Simpson Heritage Foundation and she is a member of the Clemson Area League of Women Voters, and the Clemson University Council on Diversity and Inclusion.
Faculty and community recipients of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Excellence in Service Award receive the commemorative award and a grant in the amount of $500, which is given to the charity of their choice. Student award recipients receive a $500 stipend.