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Dornsife Doctoral Candidate Receives Drexel Alumni Association Outstanding Student Award

January 30, 2017

A Dornsife School of Public Health doctoral candidate received the Drexel Alumni Association Outstanding Student Award for her leadership and engagement at Drexel University. Jacquelynne Y. Orr, DrPH candidate in Health Policy and Social Justice in the Department of Health Management and Policy, was selected because of her efforts to create Drexel’s first-ever African Descent Graduation Ceremony. Working in collaboration with Drexel’s Black Alumni Council and as then-Vice President of the Drexel Black Graduate Student Union (DBGSU), Orr created the ceremony concept, confirmed campus partners, advertised the event, and implemented the program.

The First Annual William Sidney Pittman Graduation Celebration and Reception, held last June, was an effort to establish a new tradition to celebrate the achievements and accomplishments of Drexel’s graduating students of African descent. The event was named after William Sidney Pittman, the first African American male graduate of Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry (now Drexel University).

Over 150 attendees, including students, parents, families, alumni, and friends, were present for the event which included performances and speeches from key community members. Two new awards were announced and presented: the Stephen R. Cox Most Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award and the Jasmine Y. Wright Most Outstanding Graduate Student Award. Wright was a 2015 Master of Public Health (MPH) graduate whose life was tragically taken shortly after graduating from Drexel.

The event also included a very special ceremony call the Rite of Passage. During the Rite of Passage each graduating student received a kente cloth which is only worn in times of extreme importance.

According to her nominator, “Jackie is hardworking, dependable, passionate, and a true student leader. She saw an important opportunity to create a meaningful tradition and implemented a beautiful celebration for our graduating students of African descent. If it was not for her leadership and organizational skills the William Sidney Pittman Graduation Ceremony would not have come to fruition.”

Orr received her award at a ceremony hosted by the Office of Alumni Relations during Drexel Homecoming last weekend (Jan 27-29).