Meet Africana Studies Distinguished Service Award Recipient Jomar Jenkins

Sept. 30, 2014

On May 13, 2014, during the Convocation co-sponsored with African American Student Affairs, the University of Arizona's Africana Studies Program awarded its first ever Distinguished Service Award in recognition and appreciation of an individual who strongly supports and advocates for the Africana Studies Program. 

Mr. Jomar Jenkins is the first recipient of this award. He was recently featured in the Eller Buzz Newsletter and we are pasting below the speech that the Director of Africana Studies, Dr. Alain-Philippe Durand, gave to present Mr. Jenkins with a well deserved award.

On behalf of all my colleagues in the University of Arizona’s Africana Studies Program, I would like to congratulate all of you for your graduation and send you our best wishes for an exciting future, no matter where it takes you.

You, your family, relatives, and friends can be very proud of this major accomplishment.

Every year, it is truly a pleasure for the Africana Studies Program to work in close collaboration with Maria Moore and African American Student Affairs. One of our faculty members in Africana Studies, Dr. Bryan Carter, is the faculty fellow at AASA. We also help in every way we can various associations such as the African Students Association and the Black Graduate Students Association. We are also involved in the community with internships and mentoring programs at TUSD in collaboration with Jimmy Hart.

It is especially important for us to co-sponsor tonight’s event, Convocation.

As professors and administrators, there is nothing better for us than to accompany our students throughout their journey, the whole way to graduation.

Every year, at this event, we get to see and to congratulate many of our students who graduate with a minor or double major in Africana Studies or now with our new minor in hip-hop studies.

But this year is even more special for the Africana Studies Program. We have decided to create a new award: The Distinguished Africana Studies Service Award in recognition and appreciation of an individual who strongly supports and advocates for the Africana Studies Program.

The first recipient of this award is very important to the history of our major, the Bachelor of Arts in Africana Studies. It is fair to say that without him, there would perhaps not be a major in Africana Studies at the University of Arizona.

In the spring of 2006, a young man named Jomar Jenkins graduated from the University of Arizona with a major in Business Economics and a minor in Africana Studies. The reason Mr. Jenkins did not graduate as well with a major in Africana Studies is not because he did not take basically all the classes that we offered back then.

He did!

The reason was because the U of A did not offer a major in Africana Studies back then.

However, if Mr. Jenkins did not get to graduate with a major in Africana Studies, he was one of its strongest advocates during his days as an undergraduate student and later.

In addition, Mr. Jenkins is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Dean Kendal Washington White told me that she remembers Mr. Jenkins back then, being the sole member of the organization on campus, and still wearing his letters loud and proud.

Mr. Jenkins has continued to advocate for our program but he has also played and continue to play a major role in attracting students at the U of A. For several years now he has served on the African American Community Council and is now the current Chair. Mr. Jenkins also received a MBA at UA in 2012.

Consequently, on behalf of all the faculty, majors, and minors in the Africana Studies Program, I would like to publicly thank Mr. Jenkins for all he has done on our behalf and for all he continues doing now. 

I am very happy to give the first ever Distinguished Africana Studies Service Award to Mr. Jenkins along with a selection of book classics  that represent the many exciting features of our program. Please join me in congratulating Mr. Jenkins!