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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Tapscott honored as multicultural leader

Students honored the leadership of Michael Tapscott in a ceremony earlier this month, saying the director of GW’s Multicultural Student Services Center created a better University for students of all races.

The Black Student Union presented Tapscott with a lifetime achievement award for his work in bringing together students of multicultural backgrounds as the director of the center. The union recognized members of the multicultural community for exceptional work in improving student experience at the University.

“It was wonderful recognizing him because everyone knows that he does so much for the University,” Sally Afia Nuamah, co-president of the union, said. “He is a selfless individual who has an undying commitment [to his students].”

Tapscott said his hard work has paid off after seven years on the job.

“It means everything to me because I really love my work, and my work is these young people,” he said. “I’d just rather see students accomplish their goals and feeling like they’ve got somebody they can trust and connect to.”

Andre Lamar Smith, co-president of the union, recalled times when Tapscott demonstrated his ability to do much more than simply his job. Smith described Tapscott as “a man that goes above and beyond the call of duty.”

“There’s nothing more touching than to have young people say that you’ve done something to help them,” Tapscott said.

As director of the center, Tapscott works with organizations across campus to spread awareness about diversity and bridge cultural lines. This includes coordinating events like Latino Heritage Month, Women’s History Month and Black History Month.

“The biggest charge traditionally with multicultural centers is to make sure that every student has the same high quality education experience that every other student has,” Tapscott said.

When Tapscott took over as director in 2003, he focused on outreach to the Asian community because he said it is crucial to be as inclusive as possible. He said university multicultural centers historically concentrated on black students’ rights because of the prominent race issues from the 1960s through the 1980s.

He also said the University is not given enough credit for its efforts in diversifying the campus, speaking to excellence in fostering interaction across cultural lines.

“People spend way too much time looking at statistical diversity,” Tapscott said.

Several students, including Arielle Ford, were also presented with awards. Ford was awarded a freshman award for extensive participation in the multicultural community.

“As a freshman at GW, the multicultural community has definitely become my second family here and I definitely would not have made it through this year without their support,” Ford said.

She has participated in a wide range of activities, singing in the Voice Gospel Choir, coordinating the black heritage celebration and working for the Ace Magazine.

Maritza Pedlar and Ernesto Apreza were recipients of the Graduating Senior Award.

Pedlar was president of the GW Black Women’s Forum from 2009 to 2010 and co-chair for the organization’s boat cruise, a formal event that caps off the black heritage celebration, for 2010 to 2011.

“The MSSC is one of the first places as a multicultural student that you actually visit when you come to GW,” Pedlar said. “They’re the first people that really reach out their hand for you. So I think it’s important to really support the center that supported you.”

Other honorees were Elliette Johnson for the Community Service Award, Darrell Darnell for the Outstanding Staff Award and Kelly Leon for the Alumni Award.

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