Spirit Awards recognize La Verne’s core values

Drake Ingram, junior criminology major, receives recognition for being named a Newman Civic Fellow at the Spirit of La Verne Awards ceremony Tuesday at the Ludwick Center. Julissa Espinoza, director of community engagement, supports Ingram during the ceremony. The awards are given to students and faculty members who embody the University of La Verne’s core values. / photo by Ethan Bermudez
Drake Ingram, junior criminology major, receives recognition for being named a Newman Civic Fellow at the Spirit of La Verne Awards ceremony Tuesday at the Ludwick Center. Julissa Espinoza, director of community engagement, supports Ingram during the ceremony. The awards are given to students and faculty members who embody the University of La Verne’s core values. / photo by Ethan Bermudez

Megan Mojica

Staff Writer

After a two-year hiatus, the Spirit of La Verne awards ceremony and reception was held Tuesday at the Ludwick Center Sacred Place.

Over 50 guests filled the lush lawn outside of the Ludwick Center in support of nine recipients, consisting of students and faculty. They received 10 different awards from the offices of civic and community engagement; religious and spiritual life; diversity, equity, and inclusion; international services and engagement; and the center for multicultural services. 

The awards recognize students and faculty from the University of La Verne who embody the University’s four core values of ethical reasoning, diversity and inclusivity, lifelong learning, and civic and community engagement. 

The recipients included Drake Ingram, a junior criminology major; Stephanie Castro, a senior psychology major; Monica Edaburn, a senior educational studies major; Jake Huberman, visiting professor of communications; Kimberly White-Smith, dean of LaFetra College of Education; Chavon Jackson, a senior computer science major; Saoud Al Meer, a senior information technology major; Seta Whitby, professor of computer science; and Christian Bracho, associate professor and director of teacher education. 

The ceremony was followed by a reception that was filled with music, conversation, and beverages and appetizers.

In previous years, the event was held at the Church of the Brethren, but it was moved this year to the on-campus location.

Julissa Espinoza, director of civic and community engagement, said it was important to recognize the recipients who she said don’t just talk the talk but walk the walk. 

“(These are) individuals who live out our core values on an everyday basis,” Espinoza said. “They truly exemplify the spirit of La Verne.”

Drake Ingram, member of the Brothers Forum and Black Student Union, earned the Life of La Verne award from the office of multicultural services. He also received the Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellows award, which was presented by University President Devorah Lieberman. 

Ingram credits his club involvement for this achievement. 

“Both of them, especially those that deal with race and identity have allowed me to be in multiple places where cultural understating and community engagement are pretty big,” Ingram said. 

Castro, a first generation student, received the Life of La Verne award from the office of civic and community engagement. 

Castro is the multicultural chair for the Campus Activities Board, a member of La Verne Buddies, and Phi Sigma Sigma, and she also works at the office of community and civic engagement as a student lead. She also volunteers at the Inland Valley Humane Society, and the Pomona Valley hospital. 

“I’m very appreciative that the people around me have noticed all the contributions I have made,” Castro said. 

Al Meer, an international student and member of Phi Delta Theta and Enactus, said winning the award meant a lot to him.

“It means that I left my mark on the place that I came to and it’s something that I love doing,” Al Meer said. 

Al Meer won the Life of La Verne award via the office of international services and engagement representing his home country of Qatar – for his support on campus with other students, and caring nature of helping out others.

Megan Mojica can be reached at megan.mojica@laverne.edu.

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Megan Mojica, a junior broadcast journalism major, is a staff writer for the Campus Times.

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Ethan Bermudez, a sophomore photography and political science major, is a staff photographer for the Campus Times. His work can also be found at bermudezproductions.com.

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