Congratulations to our second-year MA student, Lydia Elrod, for being awarded the prestigious Witherspoon Fellowship! The Witherspoon Graduate Fellowship was established to honor the accomplishments of Dr. Augustus M. Witherspoon, the second Black graduate student to receive a doctorate from the university and the first Black professor at NC State who also served as an Assistant Dean and Associate Dean of The Graduate School and later Associate Provost of the Office of African American Affairs, for his service to the university. The Witherspoon Fellowship is awarded to students who have demonstrated experience in or a commitment to supporting Black communities within and beyond NC State’s campus. The nomination was made by representatives from both the Black Alumni Society and the Graduate School. This year, out of 23 nominations, only 7 graduate students were selected for this honor.
When asked for her reaction to being recognized for this award, Lydia Elrod responded: “I’d just like to say that it’s such an honor to receive this award! For much of my career as a student, I’ve been starkly aware of my position as a person of color – often one of the only people of color in many of my classes. However, I’ve been so welcomed as a graduate student in the English program at NC State. I’ve been encouraged by my professors and administration to take my education as far as it will go, and I’ve specifically been encouraged to take on projects of direct influence on the North Carolina communities that I am a part of. The Witherspoon Graduate Fellowship Award is a fantastic example of the support I’ve received at NC State and of the Graduate Program’s commitment to making a difference beyond the academic world. It is also a testament to NC State’s commitment to remembering the legacies of its trailblazers, like Dr. Augustus M. Witherspoon, the first Black Professor at NC State. I’m proud to stand in that legacy!”
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