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African American Faculty Member, Alumna and Student Awarded for Excellence

February 27, 2018 – Longtime professor Gwen Mikell, student Taurjhai Purdie (C’20) and alumna Terri Carmichael Jackson (C'89, L'92) were honored for their achievements earlier this year at the 2018 Patrick Healy Dinner.

The Georgetown University African-American Advisory Board (AAAB) hosts the annual event, the proceeds of which support the Patrick Healy Scholarship.

The scholarship promotes diversity at Georgetown by supporting eligible students who have demonstrated financial need.

Delightful Conversations

"I consider myself fortunate to have been able to teach you about race relations, Africa, African-American culture, anthropology, foreign affairs – it was an absolute delight to have those conversations with you," said Mikell, a professor of anthropology and foreign service whose students made up part of the audience.

Mikell, who has taught at the university for more than 40 years, received the Inaugural Distinguished Leader Award at the dinner.

The professor served as director of the African Studies Program in the School of Foreign Service from 1996-2007 and was a Senior Fellow for African Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations from 2000 to 2003. She also led the development of the African Studies program in the School of Foreign Service, and more recently was appointed to serve as co-chair of the Racial Justice Working Group at Georgetown.

Uplifted and Celebrated

The 2018 Patrick Healy Scholarship Award went to Taurjhai Purdie (C'20) of Baltimore, Maryland, a double major in government and African American studies.

Taurjhai Purdie speaks into microphone at podium"To be uplifted and celebrated by a community of individuals who take pride in my success is empowering," Purdie said. "Community ensures that in a world and in a society that refuses to recognize the worth of African-Americans and continues to question our accomplishments, we remember that we are more than capable of realizing our potential."

Purdie serves as a mentor in the Prisons and Justice Initiative Program, as secretary for the Minority Pre-Law Association, as outreach chair for Georgetown University Women of Color, and as chair of the Know Your Rights Committee for the Georgetown University American Civil Liberties Union.

Following graduation, Purdie plans to attend law school to become a civil rights attorney serving low-income communities and people of color.

Service to Others

Terri Carmichael Jackson (C'89, L'92) received the Samuel A. Halsey Jr. Award, named for Georgetown’s first African American undergraduate student.

Terri Carmichael Jackson poses with her Samuel A. Halsey Jr. award "When I think of Georgetown, what comes to mind is a saying that we had, and that is, 'We bleed blue and gray,'” Jackson said. “To me, that means honoring the words 'commitment' and 'service to others.'"

Jackson has taught at Tulane, is a former member and chair of AAAB, and now serves as the operative leader for the first labor union for professional women athletes.

"As a former member and chair of the board, I know what it feels like to think about people and review their accomplishments and consider them for these awards,” she said. “To be on the other side and receive this honor is huge.”