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The National Council of Negro Women honored Connecticut College Professor Michelle Dunlap with the prestigious Eunice McLean Waller Award for her outstanding contributions to the community.
Dunlap, a professor of human development, recently spoke at the 40th anniversary celebration for the local branch of the NCNW in Mystic, CT. In her speech, “Fortified by the Past, Focused on the Future,” Dunlap painted a portrait of the historical challenges African American women have faced, and the lingering struggles that still remain for so many of them in basic arenas such as education, health, family and work. Dunlap traced the collective acts of the many black women who have formed the resistance for generations against slavery, Jim Crow laws and persistent poverty.
“The entire department is very proud of Michelle, and her speech inspired us all to mobilize and to work toward creating a socially just world for those black women and families who continue to experience oppression in their lives,” said chair of the human development department, Sunil Bhatia.
Dunlap, who specializes in multicultural and contemporary family issues, joined Connecticut College in 1994, and has gained international recognition as an expert in her field. As a contributor to a wide variety of journals and books, she has written extensively about her research involving college students working in community service-learning settings; intergroup relations; and perceptions and misperceptions of African American child rearing. Dunlap’s work has taken her throughout the U.S. and abroad, from Russia to Finland.
Dunlap has been recognized with a variety of awards, including the Woman of the Year Award from the Connecticut African American Affairs Commission, and the New England Resource Center for Higher Education's Ernest J. Lynton Award for the Scholarship of Engagement. But this special keynote invitation was her first time being celebrated by the NCNW.
Founded in 1935 and based out of Washington, D.C., the NCNW was established to create opportunities for African American women and improve quality of life through community service initiatives, research and government advocacy efforts. Initially staffed by a tiny group of volunteers who operated out of the founder’s home in Washington, the organization has grown to have global reach, with initiatives in Africa and throughout the U.S. With 28 national affiliates and more than 200 community-level sections, the NCNW serves four million women in some capacity. Dunlap’s commitment to the values reflected by the NCNW continues to enrich Conn’s campus every day.
“Michelle is a beloved and much respected role model, and her scholarship and activism has positively transformed many young lives in the classroom and the larger community. We are very fortunate to have her as a faculty member at the College,” Bhatia said.