Lift Every Voice Awards Presented at UM Black History Month Kickoff

Four campus employees honored for service and leadership in diversity, inclusion

lift every voice award ole miss university of mississippi black history month student union joseph ward brandi labanc jennifer stollman kirk johnson

Shawnboda Mead (center) congratulates Lift Every Voice Award honorees Brandi Hephner LaBanc and Jennifer Stollman. Photo by Mary Knight.

“Lift Every Voice” is traditionally known as the Negro national anthem, but the song title is also the name of an annual award presented at the University of Mississippi.

Four UM employees received this year’s “Lift Every Voice” award Feb. 3 during UM’s Black History Month kickoff celebration in the Ole Miss Student Union. Honored were Joseph Ward, chair and professor of history; Brandi Hephner LaBanc, vice chancellor for student affairs; Jennifer Stollman, academic director for the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation; and Kirk Johnson, associate professor of African-American studies.

“The Black Faculty and Staff Organization of the University of Mississippi founded the ‘Lift Every Voice’ award to recognize an individual, group or entity that has contributed to the betterment of human relationships on our campus,” said Shawnboda Mead, director of UM’s Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement. “Particular emphasis is given to the areas of diversity, multiculturalism and inclusion. Recipients of this award have worked beyond their normal employment boundaries and performed the ‘extra mile’ of service to their fellow man for the university.”

Previous recipients include Thomas Wallace, former vice chancellor for student affairs; Johnnie Williams, former vice chancellor for administration and finance; Leroy Wadlington, former pastor of Second Baptist Church in Oxford; Glenn Hopkins, dean emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts; Gloria Kellum, vice chancellor emeritus for university relations; Maurice Eftink, dean emeritus of the Graduate School; Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat; Donald Cole, assistant to the chancellor for multicultural affairs; Warner Alford, alumni director emeritus and former athletics director; Kirsten Dellinger, chair of sociology and anthropology; Jackie Certion, senior academic adviser; Patrick Perry, director of the LuckyDay Program; Curtis Wilke, associate professor of journalism; Aileen Ajootian, chair of classics; Susan Glisson, director of the Winter Institute; Jeff Jackson, associate professor of sociology; Charles Ross, director of African-American studies program; Susan Grayzel, director of the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies; Morris Stocks, provost and professor of accountancy; and Chancellor Dan Jones.