2011 MLK President's Reception honors those committed to diversity on campus and beyond

It was a celebration of achievements linked with a shared commitment to diversity, public service and equality at the Martin Luther King Jr. President’s Reception, where President Robert J. Zimmer conferred the 2011 Diversity Leadership Awards.

More than 225 people attended the Thursday, Jan. 13 special event at the Quadrangle Club, including several community leaders and national dignitaries, to honor recipients Lynda Hale, administrative director of the Primary Care Group at the University of Chicago Medical Center, and James Bowman, Professor Emeritus in Pathology and Medicine.


Hale received the Diversity Leadership Award for Staff, which honors employees who display exemplary leadership in conjunction with the University’s diversity efforts both on campus and in the community. Bowman, an internationally recognized expert in pathology, genetics and sickle cell anemia, earned the Diversity Leadership Award for Alumni, which highlights those who advance social justice and equality at the University and beyond.

“The purpose of our gathering here is really two-fold; it’s first to give out two very important awards, diversity leadership awards, to two extraordinary people,” said President Robert J. Zimmer. “Second, we are presenting these awards in the very important context of the University’s ongoing celebration of the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Hale who was surrounded by her life partner Merritt Hasbrouck, President of Jackson Park Hospital, two brothers, Layden and Larry Hale, and a host of friends and colleagues, said she credits her parents for living their lives as an example to others to treat everyone with respect.

“It is quite an honor, and I am so humbled for being recognized for doing work that I really enjoy doing,” said Hale.

Julie Peterson, Vice President for Communications, said Hale takes an active role in the lives of her employees by mentoring and encouraging them to pursue new opportunities and continue their education. Hale is also an active member of the community through her volunteerism with Dress for Success, the Bronzeville Children’s Museum and After School Matters.

"In a variety of roles, our staff members are critical to this singular campus environment - one in which people are valued for the quality of their contributions and not for their identity, background, or status," said Peterson. "Lynda Hale is a shining example of the dedication and commitment to excellence that makes this environment possible."

William McDade, Deputy Provost for Research and Minority Issues and Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, said he was honored to introduce Bowman, a noted colleague and friend.

“He has received national and international recognition for his work, including numerous academic positions and appointments to various national and international committees, commissions and scientific teams,” said McDade. “He has more than 90 publications in the field of general human genetics, and through his career he has had a broad impact on the advancement of the field.”

Bowman, who attended the University in 1964, recounted several stories of working to advance sickle cell anemia research and teaching various students, who, he said, are now leaders in their own fields. He said he was equally proud of his circle of family and friends who have encouraged him along the way such as his wife, Barbara, his daughter, Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and special assistant to President Barack Obama, granddaughter Laura, and friend Louis Sullivan, former Secretary of Health and Human Services—all whom attended the event.

“I thank you very much,” said Bowman. “It is an honor to be selected as one of the award winners. I’ve learned that everyone has something valuable to contribute.”

The Diversity Leadership Council, which Zimmer assembled in 2007 to support diversity throughout the University, community and business partnerships, has given the Diversity Leadership Awards since 2009. Peterson and McDade serve as co-chairs of the Council.

Visit www.uchicago.edu/diversity/awards for more information about the nomination process.