Students, faculty, administrators and members of the Durham community gathered in the Washington Duke Inn Tuesday for the 17th Annual Samuel Dubois Cook Society Awards dinner.
The society was founded in the late 1990s to honor Dr. Cook, the first black faculty member at the University. The mission of the society is to recognize, celebrate, and affirm the presence of black students, faculty and staff at Duke University. Members of the society commit themselves to the objectives which Cook dedicated his professional life to. These objectives include nurturing a sense of belonging for blacks, fostering positive relations between all ethnic groups and ensuring all members of the community reach their full potential.
This year's winners were Kerry Haynie, associate professor of political science and African and African American Studies; David Stein, senior education partnership coordinator for the Duke Durham Neighborhood Partnership; Camille Jackson, a news writer and communications specialist in the Office of News & Communications; Patricia James, a staff specialist in the Duke Community Service Center; Roketa Sloan, a fourth-year PhD student in genetics and genomics, and senior Naureen Huda.
Huda, the only undergraduate honored at this year’s event, was recognized for the four years she dedicated to the Girls Club program run out of The Emily K Center.
“My work with the Girls Club wasn’t something I expected to get recognition for," Huda said. “It was really exciting to have a room full of kind and important people recognizing my work and the work of others.”
Huda has also volunteered with the Duke Pre-Health Volunteer Program, Ronald McDonald Family Room, Duke Children’s Hospital and Gente Aprendiendo Para Nuevas Oportunidades—an organization dedicated to tutoring Spanish speakers in English. On campus, she is involved with Her Campus, Duke Magazine and Duke Partnership for Service.
Sam Miglarese, a Cook Society steering committee member and director of community engagement for Duke’s Office of Durham and Regional Affairs, nominated Huda, citing her organization skills along with her passion for helping others.
“She has a compelling personal warmth communicated a deep compassion and understanding for what it means for young people to grow self-esteem and develop a sense of strength itself," Miglarese said.
James was the first employee paid by the hour to ever win the award. She was recognized for founding Durham Triple Play-Long Ball Baseball Program, which was designed to keep teenage boys occupied when school lets out for the summer. The program has been running since 2008.
“When young boys tell you they think a program saved their lives, you have a program that needs to stay around,” James said in her acceptance speech.
The recipients of the award are chosen by a steering committee headed by Vice President for Institutional Equity Ben Reese.
“I'm always on the verge of tears when this evening concludes because I look out on a mosaic of diversity and I look out on the beloved community and I think we've presented models of the society everyone should move towards," Reese said.