Students and Faculty Honored for Exemplifying University of La Verne Values at 2022 Spirit of La Verne Ceremony

University of La Verne

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University of La Verne student Monica Edaburn, 2022 Spirit of La Verne honoree.Jeanine Hill

On May 3, 2022, the University of La Verne community gathered for the 2022 Spirit of La Verne Recognition Ceremony, which recognizes individuals for exemplifying and furthering the values of the university.

This annual recognition represents a braid, weaving together core values that build communities of peace and justice. The ceremony honored up to two individuals from the university community as recommended by each the offices within the university's Ludwick Center for Spirituality, Cultural Understanding, and Community Engagement, and also recognized the student selected this year by Campus Compact as a Newman Civic Fellow.

This year's honorees are:

Recognition for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Chosen by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity

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Chavon Jackson and Alexandra Burrell, chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer at University of La Verne.Jeanine Hill

Chavon Jackson, rising senior and computer science major.

Jackson is active in campus leadership and organizations such as the Brothers Forum and Black Student Union, and has served as an ambassador for campus initiatives, an intern within the Cultural Awareness and Social Inclusion committee for the City of La Verne, and participated in the Summer Service Program. He has been recognized for his artistry by the Act-SO organized by the NAACP, with medals in poetry.

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Kimberly White-Smith and Alexandra Burrell, chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer at the University of La Verne.Jeanine Hill

Kimberly White-Smith, former dean of the LaFetra College of Education.

As the first Black woman dean in the history of the university and the first Black woman at full professor, White-Smith reinvigorated the college with her passion for developing educational leaders who have a commitment to social justice and equity. Among her many significant achievements are the creation of the college’s Center for Neurodiversity, Learning, and Wellness and the Center for Educational Equity and Intercultural Research, both of which have helped to extend the university’s reach and mission into surrounding communities.

Recognition for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
As chosen by the Center for Multicultural Services

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Christian Bracho (center) with Misty Levingston and Daniel Loera from the University of La Verne's Center for Multicultural Services.Jeanine Hill

Christian Bracho, associate professor in the LaFetra College of Education.

Bracho is director of the Teacher Education Program in the LaFetra College of Education and is also a Diversity Fellow with the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. He practices restorative and relational equity, and has contributed to building community through his lived example.

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Drake Ingram.Jeanine Hill

Drake Ingram, third year criminology student.

Ingram is a student leader who inspires his peers, faculty, staff, and the broader community through his advocacy for Black students and supporting, empowering, and exploring the Black excellence experience. He serves as president for the Brothers Forum Club, which focuses on service and support for Black men as they journey through college, and is a member of the Black Student Union (BSU). During the ceremony, Ingram was also recognized for being selected as a Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact.

Recognition for Civic and Community Engagement
As chosen by the Office of Civic and Community Engagement

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Stephanie Castro with Julissa Espinoza, director of community engagement.Jeanine Hill

Stephanie Castro, psychology and criminology student.

Castro, a first-generation college student, has volunteered her time and talents with several local community partners, such as the Inland Valley Humane Society, David and Margaret Youth and Family Services, the Salvation Army, Hillcrest Retirement Community, the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, and is also a current CABBIE (Campus Activities Board) Marketing Chair.

Recognition for International Services and Engagement
As chosen by the Office of International Services and Engagement

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Seta Whitby with Nancy Newman, director of the Office of International Services and Engagement.Jeanine Hill

Seta Whitby, professor of Computer Science and Computer Engineering.

In her role as the Computer Science Department chairperson, Whitby founded the Information Technology major, the Artificial Intelligence Concentration, as well as a new Systems Engineering Certification. She helps international students not only plan their majors and accomplish their goals, but also assists as they adjust to life and studies in the US. She is a professor, mentor, and friend who even hosts groups of students in her home and treats them to her cooking.

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Saoud Almeer with Nancy Newman, director of the Office of International Services and Engagement.Jeanine Hill

Saoud Almeer, information technology student.

Almeer, from Qatar, has served as a Presidential Ambassador, is a member of Phi Delta Theta, and has been active in ENACTUS. He is kind, thoughtful, giving, compassionate, and cares about others. He is deeply motivated to do good in the world, has an exceptional work ethic, and goes out of his way on a regular basis to help those in need.

Recognition for Spiritual Life and Interfaith Engagement
As chosen by the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life

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Jake Huberman with his Spirit of La Verne certificate.Jeanine Hill

Jake Huberman, visiting professor of communications.

Huberman facilitated the formation of the Jewish student club, Hillel, and has helped support years of programming, cultivating education in Jewish culture, spirituality, and philosophy. He has built community with Muslims, Mormons, Christians, and atheists, freely sharing his worldview and wisdom, and sharing food and practices as a way to encourage others to live intentionally with their ethics and their spirituality.

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Monica Edaburn with the Rev. Zandra Wagoner, university chaplain.Jeanine Hill

Monica Edaburn, senior educational studies major.

Edaburn founded a new student club called Catholics in Action, seeking to encourage her peers in their spiritual journey and to put one’s faith into action in the world. During the pandemic, as the student president, she helped build a loving, positive, and service-oriented space for her peers through virtual gatherings and social media campaigns. She was consistent and creative providing both lighthearted community through games and puzzles and deeply engaging spiritual exploration through rosaries, lectio divina prayers, service projects, reflections, interfaith engagements, and inviting special guests that do inspiring things in the world out of their faith commitments to love and justice.

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Founded in 1891, the University of La Verne is a private, nonprofit, comprehensive institution founded on four core values: lifelong learning, ethical reasoning, civic and community engagement, and diversity and inclusivity.

La Verne, CA
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