Distinguished Alumnus of the Year

Distinguished Alumnus of the Year - Evyonne Hawkins

Professor Hawkins has been employed at Richland for 22 years and has provided excellence in service in a variety of capacities.  She began her career at the College as an administrative assistant where she was a member of a three person team that was responsible for the initial development and implementation of the associate degree nursing program.  This became one of the many successes that supported Evyonne’s desire to realize her fullest potential through higher education.  At Richland she received two degrees: an Associate of Applied Science in Office Technology and an Associate in Science in General Education.  Upon degree completion at Richland she transferred to the University of Illinois at Springfield and was awarded a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Master of Arts in Teacher Leadership.
 
She states her biggest successes have come first in the classroom where she has been responsible for the development of the Education curriculum and programming as well as the redesign of the African American Studies into a degree program.  Over time, she has built relationships with university faculty to articulate these degree programs at the four-year level, assuring that Richland students can easily transfer.
 
Professor Hawkins believes that to effect positive change in the world is everyone’s responsibility, and she has taken this to the next level at Richland.  She understands that oftentimes students may not have had the luxury of hearing the simple words “I love you” or “I am proud of you”.  One of the humanitarian services she has strengthened at Richland is the annual African American Heritage Celebration that provides the opportunity for an African American student to hear those words during the Kente ceremony which recognizes the student’s passage to adulthood in celebration with their family or guardian members.   She is not paid for organizing, presenting, or participating in this ceremony, but does it out of pride in seeing these students accomplish something that is often difficult to do in the African American Community, and that is graduate and have their parents publicly acknowledge how proud they are of the students’ accomplishments.

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