“Their service reflects a level of selflessness that is the driving force behind positively affecting the lives of others,”
Awardees LaShawnda Wrice, Peter and Karen Frade, Tapinder Singh, Hayley Thompson and the members of Street Medicine Detroit pose with their trophies. Photo by Miriam Marini

The Division of Government and Community Affairs held its inaugural Spirit of Community Awards Ceremony on March 23.

Guests of the ceremony included President M. Roy Wilson, Board of Governors member Kim Trent and Patrick Lindsey, the vice president of Government and Community Affairs. The keynote speaker was Tony Michaels, the president and CEO of The Parade Company.

“Wayne State makes Detroit better, hands down,” Michaels said.

Five awards were given during the ceremony: the “Inspire from Within” Philanthropy Award, Staff Engagement Award, Faculty Engagement Award, Student Engagement Award and Project Engagement Award.

The Student Engagement Award was awarded to Tapinder Singh, the president of the WSU chapter of Healthy Detroit, for his work with Healthy Detroit's Healthpark initiative and for creating a GoFundMe page to raise money to purchase bottled water for those affected by the Flint Water Crisis.

Singh donated 5,000 water bottles and organized transportation to Flint to distribute the water bottles.

“It’s just human nature," Singh said. "I saw people in need, and I was heartbroken. I was just doing a drop in the bucket.”

Singh said the project was a collaborative effort by Healthy Detroit and the Detroit City Council.

“I am thankful for all the members of Healthy Detroit who worked so hard,” he said. “I’m really excited to work with everyone to curb the health disparities that exist in our area.”

WSU alumni Peter and Karen Frade received the Inspire from Within Award for their support of WSU as faculty members and their financial contributions, including the Karen L. and Peter D. Frade Endowed Scholarship.

“Karen and Peter exemplify what it means to inspire from within,” Vice president for Development and Alumni Affairs and presenter of the award Susan Burns said. “As faculty members, they’ve given for years through payroll deductions.”

Alicia Pendleton, the associate vice president for human resources, presented the Staff Engagement Award. She said the decisions made by the nominees and staff at WSU has a direct and significant effect on various levels.

“Their service reflects a level of selflessness that is the driving force behind positively affecting the lives of others,” Pendleton said. “Their commitment to service is truly an inspiration.”

LaShawnda Wrice, development operations coordinator for business affairs, received the award.

“She is a very good coworker, she has a very warm spirit and she’s amazing to be around,” said Johnny M. Gaines a program specialist who nominated Wrice for this honor.

Hayley Thompson, associate professor of population science, received the Faculty Engagement Award for starting Detroit Health Link, a coalition that fights for equity in cancer care.

“She embodies everything the award is meant to honor, in everything she does, both personally and professionally,” Cathryn Bock, an associate professor of population science who nominated Thompson.

Chief of Staff and Vice President of Marketing and Communications Michael Wright presented the Project Engagement Award Street Medicine Detroit, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bridging the gap between homeless and medical communities.

“The people that really exemplify the spirit of this university go beyond themselves, they get outside of their particular narrow focus, bring in other people, think about other people [and] lend their generosity to the community,” Wright said. “That really is what makes Wayne State a unique place and maybe a better place to be.”   

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