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Otterbein Professor Koehler and student Boone ’19 win Peace and Justice awards

Otterbein Professor Koehler and student Boone ’19 win Peace and Justice awards

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace and Justice Awards are given during the annual Otterbein MLK Convocation ceremony. The awards are given to nominated faculty, students and student groups who exemplify the ideals and actions of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. This year’s Faculty Award winner was English Professor Margaret Koehler and the Student Award winner was Taren Boone ’19. Each received their award during the 2018 convocation held Wednesday, Jan. 17.

Below are excerpts from Koehler and Boone’s nomination forms, submitted to the Office of Social Justice and Activism.

“Margaret Koehler has been extremely supportive and enthusiastically involved in diversity-based student organizations’ activities. She offers assistance whenever needed. Koehler is proactive in learning and sharing about the inequalities and injustices experienced by marginalized people both on and off campus, and subsequently to organize actions and responses to those negative experiences. Professor Koehler deserves this award because she is a strong advocate for equal opportunity for students of various identities. In the classroom, she inspires students to learn about inequalities and injustices, why they matter to those in the majority and encourages students of color to participate in having their voices heard. Her dedication to combat societal injustices is commendable and much appreciated. It is essential to have more allies like Professor Margaret Koehler.”

“Taren Boone has been a campus leader for racial justice. She is the current president of the African American Student Union (AASU) and has worked to innovate wonderful programming, such as a retreat for AASU women and a well-attended barbecue for all campus diversity organizations. Boone received a grant from University Programs to research community engagement opportunities for race and ethnic studies minor students. She also co-founded Kickstand, a new campus racial justice organization. With a group of other students, she is currently working to resurrect the journal Harambee under a new name, but perhaps even more important is Boone's collaborative and encouraging approach with her peers. She has done an amazing job reaching out to make new first-year students in AASU feel welcomed. She is always willing to pitch-in with work and never seeks the limelight. She is an excellent listener and her instinct is always to lift up her peers for their work. Her academic interests also align with Reverend King's values. She is a psychology major and a race and ethnic studies minor. One possible career interest for her is working with children who have experienced trauma and promoting justice in their communities.”

The 2018 Otterbein Martin Luther King, Jr. Convocation keynote speaker was Samuel Gresham, Jr., chairman and CEO of SGI International. Gresham spoke on the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. in ways that we often don’t think of him in, especially his early life and where he was channeling his efforts leading up to his assassination in 1968. Otterbein diversity-based student group representatives spoke on behalf of their organizations and the work they do. The Otterbein Gospel Choir, celebrating their 30th anniversary this year, also performed uplifting spiritual selections throughout the program.


See more photos from the 2018 Otterbein MLK Convocation in our photo gallery.