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Monroe College Honors Five Community and Public Service Leaders at Annual Black History Month “Celebration of Excellence Awards”

March 04, 2018


Monroe College, a national leader in educating urban and international students, proudly honored five community and public service leaders at the College’s “Celebration of Excellence Awards” held on Thursday, March 1. 

The awards dinner is one of several Black History Month events held on campus each year. The theme of this year's program was “Honoring Those Making History Every Day.”

Monroe College President Marc Jerome led the evening’s celebration of five accomplished individuals whose exemplary career achievements, integrity, passion, and public service serve to inspire others and contribute to the dynamic vitality of New York.

This year's honorees were:

  • Carl Heastie, the 100th Speaker of the New York State Assembly and the first African-American to serve in this position;
  • Benjamin B. Tucker, First Deputy Commissioner and second-highest-ranked officer in the New York City Police Department (NYPD);
  • Tonya Boyd, the first African-American woman to hold the position of Deputy Chief in the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY);
  • Jamaal Bailey, accomplished New York State Senator representing the 36th District in the Bronx; and 
  • Ruel Stephenson, the decorated law enforcement leader elevated to Deputy Chief of the New York City Police
    Department (NYPD) last fall.

DSC_4491 2“As Black History Month comes to a close, it is important that we recognize those working tirelessly today to make a difference in their local communities and beyond. In doing so, they continue the exceptional legacy of the countless African-American men and women throughout history who have made a difference and built the fundamental bridges of respect and understanding that better us all,” said President Jerome.

He added: “The College was so proud last Thursday to recognize our five esteemed honorees and celebrate their wonderful accomplishments together as a community.”

The Black History Month “Celebration of Excellence Awards” event was held on the College’s New Rochelle campus. Michele Rodney, Dean of Monroe’s School of Criminal Justice, served as the evening’s co-host and emcee, as she has exceptionally done since first introducing this important program at the College years ago.

“It was a wonderful, heartfelt event that inspired all in attendance,” said Dean Rodney. “I congratulate our honorees and once again echo the sentiments of the evening by applauding their countless personal and professional contributions.”

The invocation was led by Reverend Frank I. Williams, Senior Pastor at Wake Eden Baptist Church and Bronx Baptist Church. Prior to the presentation of awards, Amara Douglas, a student in the College’s School of Business and Accounting, gave a moving rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

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