Martine Francois of Lynn is the staff recipient of the 2021 Salem State University Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award for her outstanding contributions to the cause of freedom, justice, peace, and equality. Francois is the Director of TRIO Student Support Services at Salem State and is a long-time mentor to middle school girls at Girls Inc., in Lynn, where she also serves on the Board of Directors. The award was presented at the university’s 31st annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Convocation held virtually on January 22, 2021.
Francois’ nomination noted that she has “dedicated her professional and personal life towards efforts leading to the betterment of underrepresented and marginalized students.” In addition, for the past decade she has “championed the needs of disadvantaged students in her collaborations with campus colleagues and advocacy work in Washington, DC.”
The Salem State University Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award is given annually to a Salem State student, alumna/us, faculty member, staff member, or administrator for their outstanding and significant contributions to the cause of social justice, peace, and equality. Recipients are recognized for their actions and behaviors in working either on or off-campus for the betterment of the community in a manner consistent with the legacy of Dr. King.
The 2021 Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award recipients were announced at the university’s 31st Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Convocation on January 22, an event that was held virtually. The award announcements were followed by a keynote address from Civil Rights Activist Dr. Angela Davis, who also took part in a Q&A with students. The Convocation concluded the university’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Week, which also included an Inauguration Day watch event and a virtual Freedom March and Candlelight Vigil. These events and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award were coordinated by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration and Black History Month Collaborative.
The 2021 MLK Leadership Award recipients include:
Undergraduate Student: Toiell Washington, Sociology
Graduate Student: Kiara Dade, Higher Education in Student Affairs (HESA)
Alumna/us: Marquis Victor ’09, Founder, Elevated Thought
Faculty: Leslie Duhaylongsod, Assistant Professor, Secondary and Higher Education
Staff or Administrator: Martine Francois, Director, TRIO Student Support Services
Salem State University, established in 1854, is a comprehensive, public institution of higher learning located approximately 15 miles north of Boston, Massachusetts. One of the largest state universities in the Commonwealth, Salem State enrolls about 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students. It offers 32 undergraduate programs and graduate programs that offer degrees in 24 fields. The university also has a continuing education division that offers both credit and non-credit programs. Known for the academic strength of its faculty, Salem State was named a Top Producer of U.S. Fulbright Scholars in 2011 and for the 2016-2017 academic year. The university is designated a Top College and University by Military Advanced Education and a Best for Vets College by Military Times. Salem State proudly participates in the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement and has shown a student voting rate well above the national average, earning the university a gold seal from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge.