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LU aims to honor inspirational women

Lamar University’s Inspirational Woman’s Award Ceremony, March 25, will honor Dr. Maya Angelou with the theme, “But Still I Rise,” and feature guest speaker Belashia Wallace.

 The Office of Global Diversity and Inclusive Excellence is hosting the Inspirational Woman Award Ceremony and Reception to honor all women who have positively impacted Lamar University, their peers and students and to distinguish one woman for her exceptional contributions to the community.

“Honoring these women during National Women’s History Month is symbolic. It was just 32 years ago when Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9, which designated the Month of March as Women’s History Month,” said Olayinka Jenmy, assistant director of Residence Life, Division of Student Engagement. “These women are making great strides within their respective departments and fields. They are breaking glass ceilings.”

Now in its third year, the Inspirational Woman Award event seeks nominations. Any woman based on her actions and professional practices exemplifies diversity and

Belashia Wallace
Belashia Wallace

inclusiveness efforts as well as significant contributions to the growth and success of women at Lamar University, should be nominated. Women who are role models to other women and advocate for and educate women are specifically sought out to be honored and recognized.

“We look for women who support Lamar University’s core values and mission and present as a role model within the community,” said Jenmy. “The Inspirational Woman Award Committee reads through every nomination, ultimately making the final decision. We remove names and associate numbers to avoid biases in the deciding process. We do this in order to look at the whole contribution of what a woman has done and not who she is.”

Four recipients - a student, a faculty member, a staff member and an alumni - will be awarded.  Everyone who is nominated will be acknowledged at the ceremony.

The event, held in the Mary and John Gray Library on the 8th Floor from 3-5 p.m. will also feature guest speaker Belashia Wallace, a 2008 LU graduate who earned her bachelor’s degree in Communications-Print Journalism. Wallace had a tremendous impact on LU as student and continues to exemplify LU’s values in her career.

While at LU Wallace founded Woman to Woman, the first women’s empowerment organization, which became the largest student group in its first month on campus. Upon graduation, she was recognized by the Beaumont mayor who appointed her as the city’s youngest committee member. Wallace attend law school at Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law where she served on the Chief Elected Office of the State of Texas Law Student Division, the Lt. Governor of the American Bar Association, the National Black Law Students Association and the Law Student Liaison for Texas Young Lawyers Association. She graduated magna cum laude and was named #1 student leader.

Wallace’s endeavors to significantly contribute to the community have continued in her career field. After earning her law degree and passing the bar exam, she was the assistant district attorney for Harris County. However, she was promoted to work on a $2 million-dollar grant project for the state of Texas and shortly thereafter offered a position to work as a trial attorney for a plaintiffs’ personal injury firm.

Throughout her educational and professional career, Wallace has received many awards, held multiple leadership positions and handled a wide range of cases.

“Mrs. Wallace was chosen as our guest speaker because of her impressive bio and deep connections to the Lamar University and Beaumont community,” said Jenmy. “I have seen her rise above many obstacles.”

The 2019 award ceremony recipients were:

Student- Ivette Dim, volleyball team

Staff- Sherika King-Lowe, executive assistant, associate vice president, Facilities Management

Faculty- Dr. Kelly Brown, assistant professor, Educational Leadership

Alumni- Evelyn Miralles, NASA, vice president for Strategic Information Initiatives and Technology at University of Houston, Clear Lake

WHO: Office of Global Diversity and Inclusive Excellence
WHAT: Inspiration Woman Award Ceremony and Reception
WHEN: March 25, 3-5 p.m.
WHERE: Mary and John Gray Library, 8th Floor
WHY: To recognize exceptional women