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Honors & Other Things

MLK Community Involvement Awards

As part of the eighth annual Interfaith Commemoration of the Life of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., two Campus Awards, two Community Service Awards, and a Special Recognition Award were announced at the ceremony on January 23.

Campus Honorees

Dr. Steven Larson has been a full-time faculty member in the Department of Emergency Medicine at HUP since 1992. His dedication and commitment to the medically underserved in both the local community and abroad exemplify Dr. King's spirit of service to others. Since the beginning of his medical training, Dr. Larson has devoted himself to improving the health of migrant Mexican farm workers who labor in the mushroom fields in Kennett Square, PA. He was instrumental in founding Project Salud, a free clinic for the farm workers and their families. Besides providing medical care, Dr. Larson has also helped his patients negotiate the complexities of the American health care system, working with HUP administration to arrange no-cost hospitalizations and therapies. He also created a patient assistance fund to help those who cannot afford the cost of health care.

Besides his work in the region, Dr. Larson has devoted vacation time to working in clinics in El Salvador, Ecuador and Honduras. He has developed opportunities for medical students to do elective clinical rotations in community clinics and hospitals in Central and South America.

Aviva Moster is a senior in the College of Arts at Sciences. Her work with diverse organizations and people inside and beyond the Penn community demonstrates an exemplary commitment to serving others. As a peer educator with PACE (Programs for Awareness and Cultural Education), Ms. Moster serves as a resource for facilitating understanding and cross-cultural dialogue among all students. She is a co-founder of Shebrews, an organization that provides a forum where women can explore social issues affecting their community. She works with LGBT Center, and has extended her efforts beyond the Penn community. She worked with Habitat For Humanity in Fort Worth, Texas during spring break of her junior year. She has also tutored students living in Chinatown.

Community Honorees

Gregorio Pac Cojulun has devoted himself to improving the quality of life in West Philadelphia for over a decade. He has assisted the Philadelphia Police in attempting to reduce crime, while working closely with city agencies and community groups to have needed services provided in West Philadelphia. He currently volunteers his service for Town Watch, the 18th District Advisory Council, the Friends of Malcolm X Park--of which he has been President since 1997--and serves as block captain for his street, the 5000 block of Osage Avenue where he has lived for nearly 40 years. Since 1992, he has participated actively in the Garden Court Community Association, serving as Vice President, President and Chair of the Safety Committee. As President of the Friends of Malcolm X Park, he collaborated with the Department of Recreation and the Horticultural Society to transform the park from an area of blight and lawlessness into a place where children can play and families can enjoy a summer evening. He also works with the Huey Family Center developing after-school programs and Saturday activities for students and families, and was instrumental in the establishment of a new school library at Lea Elementary School.

As Executive Director of Neighborhood United Against Drugs (NUAD), Joseph Purnell is a tireless advocate for at-risk youth. NUAD, which Mr. Purnell helped to found in 1988, is a grassroots community organization committed to reducing drug abuse, teen pregnancy, the spread of HIV and violence among at-risk youth in Southwest Philadelphia. NUAD provides activities designed to equip them with the education and skills to enable them to make positive choices, to develop a positive concept of themselves and others and to achieve socially responsible behavior and make a positive contribution to their communities. In addition, Mr. Purnell has served on the advisory board for the Health Annex at Myers, as the first president of the Southwest Community Action Coalition and is the founder of the Shaw Community School.

Special Recognition

James Gray started his employment at Penn's Law School Library in July 1961 and retired from the Annenberg School for Communication's Library in 1999. He was a founding member of AFSCME Union Local 590 on campus, an advocate for employee benefits, jobs, student enrollment and retention. Mr. Gray was an active and outspoken member of the Black Administrators, Faculty and Staff from the early '70s. In 1985, he was one of the members that aided in the group's revitalization and name change to the African American Association or Triple A. He served as the Tri-Chair for Staff until his retirement. As Tri-Chair, he played a vital role in the development of Triple A's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration, and the Black Senior Awards program that celebrated the outstanding achievements of black students.


  Almanac, Vol. 49, No. 20, February 4, 2003