Join us in congratulating the Ford School’s MLK Spirit Award nominees, recipients

January 28, 2016

Seventeen undergraduates, including five of the Ford School’s bachelor’s degree students, were recognized at a January 23 MLK Spirit Award ceremony that highlighted the ways in which these students have worked to carry on King’s spirit.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Spirit Awards honor undergraduate students at U-M’s Ann Arbor campus who best exemplify King’s leadership and extraordinary vision. Award criteria include celebrating and promoting the worth of all human beings, pursuing equal rights by non-violent means, encouraging people of diverse cultures to live together in a spirit of love and acceptance, participating in community service, fighting injustice, building inclusive communities, and acting as responsible and innovative leaders.

Ford School 2016 MLK Spirit Award nominees included

Alexis Farmer, a senior from Detroit majoring in public policy and international studies, has interned for Governor Snyder’s Office of Urban and Metro Initiatives, the Detroit City Council, and the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation. Farmer is a member of Pretty Brown Girls, Big Sisters for Metro Detroit, and the Comprehensive Studies Program and is on the eBoard of Sister 2 Sister, an organization centered on sisterhood, scholarship, and service.

Isa Gaillard, a junior from Kalamazoo, Mich., is dedicated to better rights, the environment, poverty alleviation, and health. He is co-chair of the Native American Student Association (NASA) where he planned the annual “Dance for Mother Earth Powwow.” He is also a Graham Sustainability Scholar, a member of the “A New Trotter Multicultural Center Team,” and a Native American Student Recruitment Advocate.

Mark Haidar, a junior from Plymouth, Mich., is committed to improving government to better serve all communities. He interned at the Chicago Housing Authority, where he assessed the effectiveness of youth programs and provided resume and financial aid advice to teenagers. He is interning at the White House’s Office of Urban Affairs, Justice, and Opportunity through the University of Michigan’s Michigan in Washington Program.

Hattie McKinney, a senior from Detroit, is co-chair of Gamma Rho Phi, an undergraduate fraternity that honors President Gerald R. Ford. She is the vice-speaker for the Black Student Union overseeing seven committee chairs and providing mentorship and guidance. She also planned the 2015 tribute celebratory gala. In the past, she has been involved with the Pretty Brown Girls organization, Music Matters, and Michigan Youth in Government.

Eric Riley, a senior from Detroit, is focused on civil liberties and urban development. At the Ford School, Eric is co-chair of the Diversity Student Coalition and a Peer Advisor for the Academic and Student Services Office. He has been a policy intern for the Downtown Detroit Partnership, which promotes service learning, community empowerment, and social justice through direct service with organizations in Detroit.

2016 MLK Spirit Award recipients

Seven of the 17 nominated undergraduates were selected to receive 2016 MLK Spirit Awards at the January 23 ceremony. Ford School recipients included Alexis Farmer, Isa Gallard, and Eric Riley. Ford School alumnus Forrest Cox (BA ’13), who received an MLK Spirit Award in 2012, attended the ceremony.

"I am so proud of all of our nominees,” says Susan Guindi, director of Student and Academic Services at the Ford School. “These Fordies have made an enormous impact, and I am inspired by their commitment and passion."