Clemson University recognizes three with MLK Excellence in Service Awards
By Evan Lybrand
CLEMSON — Clemson University has recognized three people — an area resident, a student and a university staff member — with the 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Excellence in Service Awards.
David Vaughn, a resident of Central, is the community member recipient of this award. Vaughn is the director of contingency operation for Fluor Corp. He has given his time to the Clemson Engineers for Developing Countries as an adviser and mentor to the members, who are working to improve the infrastructure and living conditions in Haiti. Vaughn spends 30 hours a week assisting students who are working on the project. He has also taken three trips to Haiti to help with the students’ project to design and build water-delivery systems to rural residents.
Jennifer Johnson of Hilton Head, graduate student in civil engineering, was recognized for her involvement with Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) and its outreach program, “It’s a Girl Thing.” She has visited middle schools and conducted hands-on projects to educate young girls in the field of civil engineering.
She served as head counselor for the WISE Experience, an orientation program for incoming women who have been accepted as engineering and science majors. She also is a volunteer for the FIRST Robotics and FIRST LEGO League Competitions. Johnson also finds time to be a volunteer coach for an underprivileged youth basketball camp in Hilton Head. Last year, she received an Outstanding Woman Award from Clemson’s President’s Commission on the Status of Women and an Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, given “in recognition of the recipient's influence for good, excellence in maintaining high ideals of living and genuine and disinterested service to others.”
Jeff Kenney is the associate director for diversity education in the Gantt Center for Student Life. He has been an advocate for dialogue, social justice and diversity at Clemson. Kenney was responsible for recreating the One Clemson Program, rebuilding it as the “New Student Dialogues” a program all new students attend at the beginning of the fall semester. He also initiated the “Good Talk” program to help with the Student Affairs staff in having meaningful discussions about social justice and self-identity. Kenney is also a supporter of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community at Clemson and has developed the Ally Training program to educate people on issues that affect that community.
The university seeks nominations of individuals who exemplify serving the university or surrounding communities and promote social and environmental justice advocacy and advancement of the community. The Martin Luther King Jr. Excellence in Service Awards are presented by the president's office, and the award selection process is coordinated by Chief Diversity Officer Leon Wiles.