MLK Leadership Awards

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Awards

The MLK Leadership Awards are given annually to students, alumni, staff, groups, and faculty members who embody the spirit of Dr. King’s work.

“Service to the community” is defined in the broadest sense and includes academic, research, religious, and secular contributions in which integrity, leadership, creativity, and positive outcome are apparent.

Congratulations to the 2023 award recipients!

Undergraduate student: Aria Kydd

Graduate student: Jensen Johnson

Staff member: Moana Bentin

Faculty member: Frank Ahimaz

Alumna: Mareena Robinson-Snowden

MLK Leadership Award Ceremony and Reception

February 7, 5:30 – 7:30pm, E15 Bartos Theater, MIT Media Lab

A separate reception will honor the work of outstanding MIT community leaders and this year’s MLK Leadership Award recipients: undergraduate winner Aria Kydd, graduate winner Jensen Johnson, staff winner Moana Bentin, faculty winner Frank Ahimaz, and alumna winner Mareena Robinson-Snowden.

Take this opportunity to meet this year’s cohort of MLK Visiting Scholars!

    Professor Wesley L. Harris

    Professor Wesley L. Harris was the 2001 recipient of the 40th MLK Jr. Celebration Lifetime Achievement award. This is a special award given only during decennial celebrations to acknowledge a community member who has given in dedicated service to the MIT Community. Dr. Harris served as professor from 1972-79 and then again from 1996 to the present. He was also the first Director of MIT’s Office of Minority Education from 1975 to 1978. Dr. Harris served as department head in Aeronautics and Astronautics, Housemaster for New House Residence Hall, and as the Associate Provost for Faculty Equity. He was honored for his ongoing commitment to ensuring that all students achieve academically at MIT and for his work on increasing diversity among the faculty.

    Previous MLK Leadership Award recipients

    For a complete list of all previous MLK Leadership Award recipients, by year, visit the MLK Scholars website.

    Nomination tips

    Nominations for the MLK Leadership Awards Here are some guidelines for writing an effective nomination.

    • Describe how your nominee meets the criteria “service to the community.” Write in detail regarding academic, research, religious, or secular contributions.
    • Avoid jargon. While you are familiar with your nominee’s work, it is likely the members of the selection committee won’t be.
    • Include measurable results when possible (e.g., new or improved programming, new ways of enabling diversity and inclusion, improvements to morale, etc.).
    • Use multiple examples of how the individual or organization went above and beyond.
    • Get support. Split up the areas (academic, research, religious, or secular) and/or award criteria (integrity, leadership, creativity, positive outcomes) with co-nominators to share writing the nomination, and ask others who may work with the nominee to submit statements in support of the nomination.
    • Keep recognizing. If you submitted an MLK Leadership Award nomination last year, consider revising it and citing new examples of contributions made over this year.