Jimmie Cannon of the Michigan Tech football team was presented with the Percy Julian Award. The prestigious award is given each year to a Tech student who is active in the promotion of diversity, social equality or racial/ethnic and cultural understanding.
Students are nominated for the award in February and the winner is announced each April at the Percy Julian Graduation Reception. Cannon was nominated for this year's award by Kellie Raffaelli the director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion.
Cannon, a sophomore from Detroit, and is majoring in pre-law social sciences, is a member of Michigan Tech's Undergraduate Student Government representing the School of Business where he plans initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion on campus. Cannon earned the award in just his second year as a Tech student.
"I was very honored to receive this award and promoting diversity and inclusion is just something that is organic to me," Cannon said. "Currently I'm working on creating a class to help the University become more diversity aware. I think it's really important to not only be more globally aware, but also more culturally and cognitively aware of where other people come from and the differences we naturally all have."
"Jimmie is deserving of this award because of his demonstrated efforts to promote diversity, social equality, and cultural understanding at Michigan Tech," Raffaelli said. "As a member of USG, and one of very few minorities on USG, Jimmie has stepped up to lead several initiatives to promote diversity at Tech. One in particular was his efforts on the Indigenous Peoples Day Resolution declaring Indigenous Peoples Day here at Tech. Jimmie headed the group that looked at that resolution to get it successfully passed. He has also worked on the university diversity goals and presented on data that pertains to diverse student retention. He also stepped up to represent USG on the Diversity Council, where he serves as a valuable member. Whenever there is an issue that has to do with diversity or social equity, Jimmie steps up and contributes. He is well deserving of this award."
"For Jimmie winning this prestigious award, it doesn't surprise me because I've been fortunate to see his character and leadership role first hand beginning with the recruitment of Jimmie and now having him in my position meetings on a daily basis," Tech Assistant Coach Bryan Thomas said. "I'm excited that Michigan Tech has recognized him in all the efforts he puts forth to make this University and community a better place."
"There has been a really positive reaction on campus to these initiatives," Cannon added. "We've also started discussions about starting a program where everyone on Undergraduate Student Government can be trained so we can become more aware. As the leaders on campus, it starts at the top so if the leaders are more culturally and diversity aware it can be a domino effect to the whole campus. We've made some great progress and I'm really proud of that."
The Percy Julian Award is named in honor of Dr. Percy Julian, an organic chemist with numerous scientific accomplishments and an important figure in the social equality movement.
For more information on the Michigan Tech Center for Diversity and Inclusion, click here.