Oct. 7, 2010
For Immediate Release
Two leaders of the African-American community were recognized at the Dialogue on Race luncheon. Campbellsville University’s African-American Community Leadership Award was presented to Dr. Eric A. Johnson. The Campbellsville University Racial Recognition Award was given to local leader, the Rev. Michael Caldwell. From left are: Dr. Robert Clark, CU academic vice president and professor emeritus, and board member of Greater Campbellsville United; Yevette Haskins, co-chair of GCU; Dr. Frank Cheatham, CU vice president for academics; Johnson and Caldwell; Wanda Washington, coordinator of GCU; and John Chowning, CU vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president. (Campbellsville University Photo by Linda Waggener)
By Linda Waggener, marketing and media relations coordinator
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Campbellsville University chapel guest speaker Dr. Eric Johnson’s message of perseverance and determination coincided with the official 12th year launch of the Campus and Community Dialogue on Race, a program established to raise awareness through discussion across the campus.
John Chowning, vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president, introduced Johnson as the pastor of Greater Galilee Baptist Church, a distinguished author, moderator of the Central District Association of Baptists, instructor of theology at the CU-Louisville Center and a true servant leader for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Johnson told the students to “always bounce back, get back up every time you are knocked down, stay determined to complete your destiny no matter how hard things get.” He spoke of his own challenges from early childhood through the pressures of earning a Ph.D., and he said that the word to take away was “perseverance.”
A luncheon for the speaker, special guests from Greater Campbellsville United and Dialogue on Race participants was held in Winters Dining Hall after the chapel service.
| These three leaders in the African-American community were
together at the Dialogue on Race luncheon. From left are: Dr.
Betty Griffin, president of Griffin Associates; Jean Wickliffe
and Yevette Haskins of Greater Campbellsville United.
(Campbellsville University Photo by Linda Waggener)
Dr. Mary Wilgus, dean of the CU College of Arts and Sciences and coordinator of Dialogue on Race, said the annual event was started on campus a year prior to President Bill Clinton’s declaration of the need for a national dialogue on race. Events are scheduled in various classrooms throughout the year where the discussions take place. Multiple groups led by various leaders collaborate and discuss issues of race, ethnicity and culture.
Wilgus said last year 158 students participated with faculty and community in the exercises of raising awareness and as a means of facilitating better communication on the campus, and later in the community, among people of different backgrounds and experiences and is a time when people from all walks of life and nations come together for a time of discussion.
Two awards of distinction were presented at the luncheon.
The African-American Community Leadership Award was presented to Dr. Eric A. Johnson. In presenting the award to Johnson, Chowning said the award is periodically presented to those individuals who have exemplified extraordinary leadership in the African-American community and who have worked to help improve race relations and to move the entire community and state forward. “Certainly, the distinguished record of Dr. Eric Johnson is one of exemplary leadership,” he said.
The Racial Recognition Award was presented to local leader, the Rev. Michael Caldwell. Chowning said the Campbellsville University Racial Reconciliation Award is given to those individuals who have a record of servant leadership in bringing people together across lines of race and ethnicity and who have been bridge builders in the community.
Chowning summarized the work of Caldwell: a distinguished career with the University of Kentucky College Extension Service, leadership in the church as the pastor of Pleasant Union Baptist Church, presidency of the Taylor County Ministerial Association, moderator of the Zion District Ministers and Messengers auxiliary, director of the Zion District Institute, one of the leaders who helped forge the partnership between Campbellsville University and Zion Bible Institute and active board member of Greater Campbellsville United.
“The warmth of his spirit and the servant leader’s role that he fills,” Chowning said, “bring people together across those boundaries which have divided us in the past.”
Caldwell is a native of the Cane Valley community; his parents still reside in Adair County. He was the first African-American student to attend the old Cane Valley elementary school.
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with over 3,000 students offering 63 undergraduate programs, 17 master’s degrees and five postgraduate areas. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.