Two Princeton staff members were honored Monday, Jan. 19, with the Martin Luther King Journey Award, which recognizes efforts to continue the journey to achieve the civil rights leader's vision.
David Campbell, a senior staff psychologist in Counseling and Psychological Services, received the Journey Award for Special Achievement for empowering students from diverse backgrounds.
"In helping students from all backgrounds better understand and confront the challenges of life on this campus, and in helping his colleagues provide a more nurturing and responsive approach to supporting our students, David has enabled many Princetonians to thrive here," President Christopher L. Eisgruber said in presenting the award to Campbell. "David, we thank you for all you have done to assist and enrich our campus community. Your work is a wonderful reflection of Dr. King's spirit."
Kenneth Grayson, a shop foreman in the Electric Shop, received the Journey Award for Lifetime Achievement for his tireless commitment to campus life.
"A University employee for nearly 45 years, Kenny Grayson is a fixture behind the scenes, as foreman of the Electric Shop, and behind the microphone, lending his golden voice to many campus events," Eisgruber said. "Known affectionately across campus as 'Kenny G,' he is deeply respected for his professional expertise, his personal warmth, and his commitment to supporting our community of students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors."
The awards were presented at the University's Martin Luther King Day celebration in Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall. Members of the University community nominated candidates based on their support for King's philosophy and teachings and their contributions to the improvement of civil rights, human rights or both. Preference was given to candidates who have positively affected the University campus and/or community. Members of the MLK Day Committee judged the nominations for the award, which was instituted in 2005.
Below is additional information about each honoree.
Campbell counsels individual students and has created groups that give students from diverse backgrounds space to safely process and explore issues related to culture and privilege, wrote Jonathan Pastor, associate director of Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS), who nominated Campbell for the award.
"David has been a leader at Counseling and Psychological Services around diversity and inclusion for the past 10 years," wrote Calvin Chin, director of CPS, which is part of University Health Services, in a letter supporting Campbell's nomination. "He infuses his clinical work with a deep appreciation of the unique challenges that face students of color, and has created safe spaces through his individual and group work for students to discuss the experience of difference and being part of marginalized communities."
Campbell also founded and coordinates the Diversity Reading Group, a monthly gathering of CPS staff where conversation centers on diversity topics. He is a leader of the Network of African-American Male Administrators and is the University Health Services representative to the Campus Life Diversity and Inclusion Committee. He served as interim director of CPS during the 2012-13 academic year.
Campbell earned his Ph.D. from the Graduate School and University Center at City College of New York and his undergraduate degree from Hunter College.
"As long as I've known Dr. Campbell, he has continually strived to support all students who cross his path, and has a particular gift for connecting with young adults who might feel marginalized, struggle to fit in on an Ivy League campus, or have experienced oppression or the effects of discrimination and prejudice," wrote Michael Olin, associate dean in the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students. "His moral fabric, compassion and considerable clinical skills greatly benefit students with whom he works."
Grayson oversees 25 team members who maintain more than 100 elevators and electrical systems across campus, along with ensuring Reunions tents have power for lights and music. In addition, he frequently operates the sound system in the University Chapel for services and other functions and sings in the Chapel Choir. He serves on University committees, including the committee for the President's Achievement Award, which he received in 1998.
"Kenny is part of the fabric of the Princeton community," wrote Charles Krank, assistant director of Grounds and Building Maintenance. "He is here more than any other person I know: nights, weekends, early mornings, snow storms, hurricanes and campus emergencies. His job description does not do justice to his contributions to campus life."
Alison Boden, dean of religious life and the chapel, wrote that Grayson "gives selflessly of himself every minute of every day."
"He has limitless energy, and is the most helpful person at the University," Boden wrote. "He is a problem-solver — often taking care of issues before the rest of us knew there was one! At the University Chapel, he has gone to extraordinary lengths to make sure that every program goes smoothly."
Thomas Corcoran, manager of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems in Grounds and Building Maintenance, said Grayson may be the best-known member of his department on campus.
"Just walk the campus with him, and it is incredible how many people he knows and how many people know him," Corcoran wrote. "Former University presidents stop and talk to him. Deans, department chairs and University staff all greet him with well wishes. And of course the students, both present and alumni, remember him and always say hello."
One measure of his impact on campus: Grayson was named an honorary member of the Class of 2002.