The MLK Leadership Award is an annual award that is presented to a student who exemplifies the values of diversity and inclusion at Blackburn College. 

In 2014, the former Director of Diversity and Inclusion created the MLK Leadership Award in response to celebrating and highlighting the exceptional community-based work Blackburn students have contributed.

The MLK Leadership Award honors outstanding students that have demonstrated outstanding commitment and service to the ideals of diversity, equity, and inclusion beyond the scope of their job. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are directly linked to Blackburn College’s mission, values, and goals.

2022 MLK Leadership Award Recipient –
Mihkyelle Cooper

Mihkyelle Cooper ’22, a senior majoring in Justice Administration from East St. Louis, is the winner of the 2022 MLK Leadership Award

Mihkyelle was a well-deserved recipient of this year’s MLK Leadership Award award because she exemplifies dedicated leadership by role modeling the true essence of diversity, equity, and inclusion in everything that she does. As evidence of Mihkyelle’s dedication and commitment, one of the nominations submitted in support of Mihkyelle stated: ‘She has developed into a natural leader as evidenced by her role as the first black female General Manager. Mihkyelle is not afraid to speak up for what she believes is right.

Dr. Margaret Lawler

Previous Winners

  • 2021: Jameela Brown
  • 2020: Nick Johnson ’22
  • 2019: Logan Elliot ’19
  • 2018: Brandon Lewis ’18

Criteria for the MLK Leadership Award

To be eligible for the MLK Leadership Award, the nominee must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Initiate or engage in activities that positively impact the educational, social, and social justice impact of the community and/or their workplace;
  • Contribute to the achievement of self-determination by individuals or groups;
  • Exhibit extraordinary commitment and dedication to community service, volunteerism, social justice, and/or civil rights;  
  • Have not previously received this award;
  • Exhibit leadership that has significantly impacted the Blackburn community; and/or
  • Have persevered to overcome challenges, either at school or personally 

Award winners will be honored at the annual MLK Convocation ceremony. Each recipient of the MLK Leadership Award is given a $100 gift card, a certificate from Blackburn President, and will have their photo displayed on the MLK Legacy Wall. 

Nomination Form

If you know a student that exemplifies the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion please nominate them. The deadline is very quick and all nominations are due by Friday, January 6, 2023.

A committee representing students, faculty, and staff will convene to determine the recipient of the award. Please contact Margaret Lawler with any questions.