January 19, 2016  

Brown, Holt to receive Purdue's Dreamer Award

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Johnny Brown, professor of mathematics, and Jerry Holt, associate professor of English and chair of the English and Modern Language Department at Purdue North Central, will receive Purdue University's 2015 Dreamer Award during a ceremony at 7 p.m. Tuesday (Jan. 19) in Stewart Center's Loeb Playhouse.

The ceremony also will include the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative lecture by Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Baltimore, Maryland. The ceremony is part of Purdue's celebration of the life and legacy of the civil rights leader.

The Dreamer Award, established in 2004, is given annually to an individual or organization within the Purdue community whose contributions embody King's vision of service to others and furthers the university's commitment to diversity.

"Drs. Brown and Holt both demonstrate the qualities of the 'fierce urgency of now,' " said Carol E. Johnson, director of the Diversity Resource Office at Purdue. "They have both shown an active commitment to social responsibility that mirrors Dr. King's vision of service to others and a society marked by equality for everybody."

Johnny Brown

Johnny Brown 
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Brown joined Purdue in 1979 as an assistant professor of mathematics and became a full professor in 1990. His research area is complex analysis and extremal problems. He has received the Harold T. Amrine Visionary Award, the Charles B. Murphy Award, Top Ten Outstanding Teacher of Undergraduates Award and the Black Graduate Students Association Distinguished Service Award. He also was inducted into the Purdue Book of Great Teachers in 2002. Brown has served as associate head of the Department of Mathematics and was head of the department's graduate committee for over nine years.

Brown also has been a member of the Hanna Community Center and has been a member of the Purdue Black Caucus of Faculty and Staff.

Holt has been at Purdue North Central since 2009, going there from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma where he was chair of the Arts and Humanities Department. He also has served as dean of Arts and Sciences at Shawnee State University in Ohio and dean of liberal studies at Antioch University Midwest.

Jerry Holt

Jerry Holt
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At Purdue North Central, Holt received the Outstanding Teacher Award for the College of Liberal Arts in 2013. He is the only three-time winner of the Regents Award for Teaching at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

He also has written several books and plays, many of them with a focus on diversity. His stage play "Rickey" deals with the friendship of Major League Baseball owner Branch Rickey and Hall-of-Famer Jackie Robinson, and has been performed across the United States. He also is the author of "Ernie," the story of Indiana native Ernie Pyle, which follows the war correspondent into the trenches where he told stories of soldiers of every color and creed. In addition, he wrote the novel "The Killing of Strangers," which examines the Kent State University shootings of 1970.

"Jerry is a folklore treasure for northwestern Indiana, a scholar, a writer and a social advocate for embracing diversity in our communities," said Rex Morrow, dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Purdue North Central. "He has actively embraced the recruitment of diverse faculty at PNC and has enriched the university environment."

There is a reception for the candidates at 3 p.m. Tuesday (Jan. 19) in the Anniversary Drawing Room in the Purdue Memorial Union. The event is free and open to the public. 

Writer: Greg McClure, 765-496-9711, gmcclure@purdue.edu

Source: Carolyn Johnson, director of the Diversity Resource Office, 765-494-7307, cjohnson1@purdue.edu 

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