Black Heritage Month Committee recognizes DeGarmo, Rambsy

Denese Degarmo and Howard RambsyThe Black Heritage Month Committee recently honored two faculty members for their contributions to SIUE.

Black studies department chair Howard Rambsy and political science department chair Denise DeGarmo received the committee’s Black Heritage Month Committee Salute to the Stars Award.

The award is given to faculty and staff who have encouraged students to pursue educational and career goals.

Being recognized for this award was “one of the more special” awards DeGarmo said she has received because it was from students.

“I was just really surprised and it wasn’t something that was on my radar at all,” DeGarmo said, “but it’s also very rewarding because it kind of reinforces my dedication to students and their voices and making sure their voices are heard at all levels of the university and making sure their rights… are protected and that they can find their inner voice to speak up and pursue what it is they want to do.”

DeGarmo said she was active in the recent debate about whether or not to have Chic fil A removed from campus, has been a strong supporter of black studies and advocates student concerns to administrators.

Rambsy said it was surprising that the committee would recognize him because he “was commending them for all work they’ve done for the black history program.”

Though it is an honor to receive any award, Rambsy said the Black Heritage Month Committee award is “especially important” because it is from “a group of young people,” some of whom were Rambsy’s students.

“It caught my attention and it was humbling and just meant a lot to me…,” Rambsy said.

Mariah Young, chair of the Black Heritage Month Committee, said 12 committee members selected the award winners. Young said the committee looked for staff and faculty who “showed outreach to students,” helped them attain their goals and “took that extra step” to help students.

Young said she did not know Rambsy personally, but other committee members spoke highly of him and said he is a great teacher who is very knowledgeable and involved on campus.

Young, a political science major, said she knows DeGarmo personally and DeGarmo has helped her find internships and make network connections.

Two staff members also received awards from the committee – housing director Alexandria White and Earleen Patterson, the director of Student Opportunities for Academic Result (SOAR), which is a program that aids students in their educational experience.

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