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Fairfield University honors three with Martin Luther King Jr. Vision Awards

Published 4:42 pm, Tuesday, February 1, 2011
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Fairfield University's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Vision Awards Dinner honored several members of the university community. The recent event recognized those who show a commitment to the ideals and values of the civil-rights leader, according to university officials.

The awards presentation was part of the university's week-long program paying tribute to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

This year's recipients include: Danke Li, associate professor of history; Meredith Marquez, associate director of student diversity programs; and Shawne Lomauro, a double major in economics and politics with a minor in peace and justice.

A resident of Scarsdale, N.Y., Li's academic credentials include a master's degree and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. She is also the author of "Echoes of Chongqing: Women in Wartime China." In her book, Li focuses on the struggles of women during China's War of Resistance against Japan.

Elizabeth Hohl, a colleague of Li's and a visiting professor at Fairfield, said, "Dr. Li is an excellent scholar. Her work reflects a deep and abiding concern for those who have been overlooked." Hohl said it is Li's ability to combine scholarship with activism that sets her apart. "She is always a voice for those who are ignored or marginalized," she said.

Marquez, a Shelton resident, works in the Office of Student Diversity Programs. She is described by colleagues as a mentor and role model for students. During a three-year period, Marquez was responsible for the implementation of the "Cura personalis"-- care of the whole person-mentoring program at the university.

Melisa Jaquez, a staff member in the residence life office nominated Marquez for the Vision Award based on her understanding of cultural competence, and her insistence that others learn the art of tolerance and multiculturalism. In particular, Jaquez said, "Meredith Marquez on a daily basis, runs programs that are geared towards educating the community about social justice. She is our go-to professional."

Lomauro, a senior from Freehold, N.J., has a distinguished academic career at Fairfield University. She has been inducted into Alpha Sigma Nu (National Jesuit Honor Society), Omicron Delta Epsilon (Economics) and Pi Sigma Alpha (Politics). In 2009, the university initiated a campus-wide activism program, and Lomauro was responsible for coordinating the multi-event summit titled "Dare to Act-Act to Change."

Fairfield University's John Suggs said the event brought the campus community together to consider the mission of social justice. Suggs, the assistant director of the Center for Faith and Public Life at Fairfield said, "When I consider those who have consistently demonstrated a commitment to the values of Dr. King, one name stands alone -- Shawne Lomauro."

Suggs also noted that as a resident assistant, Lomauro works hard at guiding and mentoring future student leaders. "Her quiet and clear steadfastness as a leader personifies the values and ideals of both Dr. King and the university," he said.