Discover Your Island

Island University Celebrates the Spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King during Inaugural MLK Awards Luncheon

January 29, 2016


CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Six members of the campus community were awarded for their efforts to promote the good works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the first ever Spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Exemplary Awards Luncheon on January 27, in the University Center. The event was hosted by the Islander Cultural Alliance (ICA), a student group that focuses on providing multicultural and diversity programs and events for the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi community.

“All of the great things that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood for, such as equality, leadership and community service are also part of the vision for A&M-Corpus Christi,” said Adler Marchand, Student Activity Coordinator and ICA faculty advisor. “With events like this, we raise awareness and ensure that we are upholding our mission and values as an institution.”

During the program, plaques were presented to outstanding students, staff and alumni of A&M-Corpus Christi whose commitment and dedication to community service, social justice and/or civil rights has significantly impacted or advanced the University and the surrounding community.

The program also included featured speaker, Dr. Lestrita Chappell, Chief Medical Officer for Corpus Christi Veterans Affairs, who has practiced medicine and managed healthcare for more than 27 years. Her speech discussed the life and legacy of Dr. King and urged the audience to be brave and follow the right voice in life.

“Sometimes the right choice isn’t the easiest or most popular choice,” she said.  “You need to be brave enough to make the hard decisions, just like Dr. King did.”

 Award recipients included:

  • Dr. Jeff Dillard, Assistant Professor of Political Science: Dillard, who is described as having a great passion for community service, has been involved in multiple campus cleanups, he has built homes in Corpus Christi with Habitat for Humanity and he has taken part in many other service projects.
  • Sydney Moreno, Sophomore Biology major: Moreno, an active member of the Student Volunteer Connection (SVC) and the ICA, also volunteered at Proyecto Azteca, a non-profit housing organization for low-income families, and the Sacred Heart Welcome Center, which assists undocumented immigrants fleeing their country for the United States.
  • Shellby Soto, Junior Criminal Justice major: Soto, a strong advocate for equality, encourages others to stand for what they believe in. Soto has been involved in the Black Lives Matter campaign and other positive marches, walks and rallies.
  • Delaney Foster, Student Engagement Coordinator:  Foster has worked hard to build a more inclusive campus environment. She supports various student organizations to ensure students learn and embrace the importance of being culturally sensitive and has inspired others to a common vision of advancing the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by hosting many trainings and workshops on the topic of diversity.
  • Marian Marroquin, Senior Environmental Science major: Marroquin has been involved with the SVC since her freshman year at TAMU-CC. She has participated in multiple Alternative Spring Break trips, service projects organized by SVC and volunteers at the local farmer’s market.
  • Samantha DeMelim, Student Activities Coordinator (staff): As the SVC advisor, DeMelim leads the organization to help build a connection between the campus and the Corpus Christi community through service projects. She also volunteers at a local hospital and is a Big Sister for Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas.