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U.Va. Announces Awards For Excellence Of Character

April 25, 2002-- A law professor who has worked closely with the University of Virginia’s student-run Honor Committee and two fourth-year students will be honored with Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards at the upcoming Valediction Exercises on May 18.

The annual awards, which go to a faculty member and two fourth-year students — one male, one female -- recognize excellence of character and service to humanity.

Earl C. Dudley Jr., faculty award

Earl C. Dudley Jr. is a graduate of the U.Va. School of Law (’67) and has been a full-time faculty member since 1989. He also served as associate general counsel of the University for five years. Before that he was a partner with the Washington law firm of Nussbaum Owen & Webster. He is an expert on evidence, civil and criminal procedure, and constitutional law.

For the past six years, Dudley has worked closely with the Honor Committee at a time when demands on the student members were high, and trust of faculty and administrators was low. During tough times, Dudley was able to bring students and administrators together and create a model for a productive relationship, said Patricia M. Lampkin, interim vice president for student affairs.

"A brilliant attorney and a sensitive human being, Dudley speaks his mind, is not afraid to propose an unpopular view and does it in a way that causes all to think and address the issue but keep their individual dignity in disagreeing with one another," Lampkin said.

Dudley has contributed his legal expertise and many extra hours in other important service to the University community, Lampkin noted in her recommendation for the award.

Bahie Mary Rassekh, student award

Bahie Mary Rassekh, a native of Mali, West Africa, holds citizenship in Mali, Canada and the United States, and has worked to develop a community of inclusion and diversity at U.Va. Rassekh has held leadership positions in a variety of student organizations and is a member of U.Va.'s Baha'i Association. She also has helped organize such cross-cultural activities as the Culture Fest, and the inter-racial dialogue series, "Reflections on Complexions."

Rassekh's interest in people of diverse backgrounds led her to spearhead the creation of a new interdisciplinary major in integrated health. In the fall of 1999, she served a Cherokee community in northeastern Oklahoma by carrying wood to the elderly, visiting the homeless, teaching children's classes and helping the sick. These experiences inspired her to pursue pre-med studies.

Last year, Rassekh participated in a National Institutes of Health program in Mali. There, she lived in villages affected by malaria and helped work on a vaccination for the disease. She plans to enter Johns Hopkins University in the fall to study public health and medicine.

Gordon W. Braxton, student award

A student in the McIntire School of Commerce, Gordon W. Braxton earned intermediate academic honors and lives on The Lawn. He is a member of BUCKS, Brothers United Celebrating Success and Knowledge, a group of young black men who serve as role models for African-American boys in the Charlottesville community and help them develop computer skills, bridging the so-called digital divide.

Braxton conceived and has helped coordinate U.Va.’s annual forum on race relations, "Reflections on Complexions." And last fall, through the Iota Phi Theta fraternity, he helped organize a meeting to improve understanding between black students and the predominantly white Charlottesville police force.

Under the auspices of One in Four, Braxton has spoken out about sexual assault and urged men to be more responsible in their relationships with women. He also serves as a peer advisor for the Office of African-American Affairs. He plans a career working for non-profit organizations and is particularly interested in those that address issues of gender and violence.

The Algernon Sydney Sullivan awards were established by the New York Southern Society in 1925 to honor its first president. The awards are presented annually at U.Va. and at about a dozen other universities in the United States to two undergraduate degree candidates and a member of the university community. Recipients receive medallions, certificates and books on Algernon Sydney Sullivan.

Contact: Charlotte Crystal, (434) 924-6858

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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