Life is really strange. I recently learned the Iowa State University Alumni Association named me its 2015 Alumni Merit Award recipient (PhD Sociology, Ag and Life Sciences 1976). “The Iowa State University Alumni Association’s ISU Club of Chicago established this award in 1932 to recognize ISU alumni for outstanding humanitarian efforts that transcend purely professional accomplishments and bring honor to the university. Up to two awards are granted annually.” This is a big award for someone who grew up in the “Jim Crow” South and attended segregated schools in Alabama, deep in the “Heart of Dixie.” Much of my early experiences in the region influenced my research and writing and the title of my first environmental justice book, Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class and Environmental Quality. Turns out I will be joining some esteemed company, including my hero George Washington Carver (1894 ISU alum) who received the Award in 1937. Dr. Carver made his mark at Tuskegee University, an historically black college and university (HBCU) located just 89 miles from my hometown of Elba, Alabama. Over much of my three-decade plus academic career, first beginning at Texas Southern University in Houston in 1976 (my first job after graduating ISU), I have aspired to give back and train a new generation of leaders in the spirit of those who came before me. A big thank you Iowa State!
Iowa State University Announces 2015 Alumni Merit Award