Dr. Thorns receives 2022 MLK unity award

Mamie Thorns Associate Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion earned the MLK award. Vanguard Photographer | Sarah Brege

Dr. Thorns received the Martin Luther King Junior Unity Award by the lota Chi Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha last week

Dr. Thorn serves as the Associate Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Saginaw Valley State University. She said she was honored to have received the award from the chapter.

“To be honored in this way during the celebration of MLK Day allows me to reflect on the years that I have attempted to keep the dream of MLK alive in my own heart and how I’ve unabashedly strived to encourage others to remember and be inspired by his legacy,” she said. “I am especially proud of the work I have accomplished with my colleagues at SVSU. Many members of the SVSU community have collaborated with me on a wide variety of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives on campus and in the community.”

Dr. Thorns has worked at SVSU since 2002. She has taught at the university and was an instructor for the Gerstacker Fellowship Program.

“As an administrator, advisor and instructor, I’ve had many opportunities to work alongside other leaders in our region to promote matters relating to maintaining and enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Thorns said. “Whether it is through promoting courageous conversations on campus or facilitating a town hall meeting.”

Alpha Phi Alpha is a fraternity that has been committed to fighting for the African American community, just like Thorns has been.

“I have been fortunate to be able to create programs such as the Great Lakes Bay Regional Youth Leadership Institute, an SVSU initiative that was established in 2005,” she said. “This institute has grown to serve nearly 100 junior and senior high school students each year from Saginaw, Midland, and Bay counties.”

This is only one of the groups Thorns is involved with.

“In addition, I am the primary adviser to the president and lead a community-based advisory council that focuses on matters related to maintaining and enhancing a diverse and dynamic campus environment,” she said

In addition to these, Thorns said she has countless engagements in different community groups of the Saginaw area that she has served with.

“My community engagements involve or have involved membership in the Rotary International Club; Gold Life Member of NAACP Saginaw; Bridge Center for Racial Harmony; and the Tri-City Chapter, The Links, Inc.,” she said. “I am a past board member of the United Way of Saginaw County; past chair of the Saginaw Community Foundation; Hidden Harvest Board; the Dow Community Advisory Board; and an active member of Bethel AME Church.”

Thorns said these are just some of the initiatives that she has expended her educational and professional experiences on.

“I’m grateful to have had the privilege of serving in the capacity that I have,” Dr. Thorns said.

This award is one of the highest awards that the lota Chi Lambda chapter grants in the Great Lakes Bay Region.

The award was presented to Thorns on Jan. 17, at the Alpha Fraternity MLK Unity Celebration luncheon at the Dow Event Center.

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