May 17-23, 2002
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IN THIS ISSUE
Speaking on the Lawn
Reserve a 2002 graduation video
Finding cultural identity in deafness and teaching
Six students get grad school boost

Collins takes on international human rights

Student first at U.Va. to win Scottish fellowship
Sullivan Award winners honored
Healing, unity student’s passions
Award also goes to faculty member
Graduates have been pillars of U.Va. student self-governance
College is time of spiritual, intellectual growth
Adult degree program graduates first students
Graduation: Did you know?
Nursing student answers
9-11 call
Students will have their day in the sun
Graduate rallies volunteers to bring arts to schools
Fifteen dozen cookies and a law degree
Wise student aspires to career helping students in higher ed
The beauty of Antarctica beckons, but graduate’s passion is teaching

Sullivan Award winners honored
Business student seeks to serve

Gordon Braxton
Photo by Andrew Shurtleff
Gordon Braxton

By Charlotte Crystal

Gordon Braxton is not your typical business student.

“I don’t view business as an end in itself, but as a mechanism for social change,” he said.

Braxton, 22, who hails from Stafford, Va., has concentrated on marketing at the McIntire School of Commerce. He has enjoyed the challenge of a rigorous education in business. And he expects to work for profit-making ventures at some point in his career.

But it’s not where his heart lies.

Braxton is planning a career in social work, and his face lights up when he talks about the service projects he’s done at U.Va.

A member of Brothers United Celebrating Knowledge and Success, Braxton was the only first-year student to serve on the organization’s first executive board. He has stayed active in the student group, which helps bridge the digital divide by offering free computer tutoring to African-American youth in Charlottesville.

Award also goes to faculty member

Law professor Earl C. Dudley Jr., a ’67 law alumnus, received the Sullivan award for a faculty or staff member. He joined the faculty full time in 1989 and served as associate general counsel of the University for five years. Dudley has worked closely with the Honor Committee for the past six years. In addition, he directs the Graduate Program for Judges.

The annual Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards are given to two fourth-year students and a member of the University community to recognize excellence of character and service to humanity.

Braxton also serves with the nationally recognized peer-advisers program at the Office of African American Affairs. “I realized that I didn’t get where I am solely on my own merit,” Braxton said. “A lot of people helped me, and I wanted to return the favor.”

Another activity that has clearly engaged Braxton’s head and heart is his work for One in Four. The U.Va. group educates men about sexual violence against women and works to reduce it on college campuses.

Braxton speaks to men’s groups around Grounds about the extent of the problem and ways they can help.

“There’s a lot you can do to help end men’s violence against women,” he said. “You can be effective in your everyday interactions with people.”

Everyday conversations about race are another of Braxton’s interests. He conceived the idea for “Reflections on Complexions” four years ago and the BUCKS group has helped sponsor it every year.

Braxton’s empathy may stem in part from a frightening personal experience. The summer before he matriculated at U.Va., he fell into a coma for several weeks.

Doctors were never able to identify the source, and Braxton just as mysteriously recovered. He had to rebuild atrophied muscles and relearn how to write and talk. Since then, he’s been grateful for the little things in life.

“Spending a month on life support made me treat every day like a gift,” he said.

Unlike many of his McIntire classmates, Braxton hasn’t yet secured a full-time job and plans to spend more time looking after graduation. At the top of his list would be a job with a non-profit group, especially one that addresses issues of gender and violence or urban education.

“You have to make a difference where you can, because you can,” he said.


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