The Erskine Peters Fellowship, which helped African American graduate students finish their dissertations for the past 11 years, will come to an end at the conclusion of this academic year, the Fellowship’s coordinator said. The Office of the Provost, which funds the Fellowship, decided to terminate the program. The Office did not give a specific reason for its decision, however, the program was not endowed and was funded strictly on a year-to-year basis, Erskine Peters coordinator Maria McKenna said. McKennasaid the Fellowship aimed to give students the opportunity to experience academic life. “We wanted to give African-American graduate students an opportunity in[higher education],” she said. “The second goal was for them to experience academic life at a major Catholic university.” The Fellowship, which funded two to four African-American graduate students for a year to finish their dissertations through the Office of the Provost and other funds, has seen 47 fellows in its 11-year run, she said. “It is viewed as one of the premiere pre-doctoral fellowships,” McKenna said. “It put Notre Dame on the map as one of the universities putting African-Americans into higher education.” Richard Pierce, chair of the Africana Studies department and one of the founders of the fellowship program, said the Fellowship brought remarkable individuals to campus. “We’ve had some great people come through the program,” he said. “[Writing a dissertation] is a lonely process in the academic world — it’s just you and your work. To have this program and to be part of that process with these fellows is good. I get to see the best parts of the students.” When the idea of a fellowship program for minorities came up in a conversation with First Year of Studies Dean Hugh Page in 1999, Pierce said both agreed they wanted to find a way to increase the number of diverse faculty teaching in higher education. Therefore, they established a fellowship to help students finish their dissertations and enter the teaching realm. At the same meeting, Erskine Peters — a former Notre Dame English professor who empowered his students and fellow faculty members — was declared the namesake of the Fellowship due to his diverse mindset. “Peters came here and was committed to students,” he said. “[Notre Dame] is a large experiment. Some say you can’t have reason and faith in one body. Peters challenged that — he showed that you can have this in one mind, one body and one heart.” McKenna said she believes Peters would have been honored by the fellowship. “This fellowship program meant a great deal to his family because he was such a pioneer in many ways to the academy,” she said. “Notre Dame did justice to the impact Erskine Peters had on students and the academy by honoring him with this program.” To commemorate the Fellowship, McKenna said the Africana Studies department, in conjunction with the Institute for Scholarships in the Liberal Arts, the College of Arts and Letters and the Kenneth and Frances Reid Fund, will host a conference from March 29 to March 31. “We’re having it as a finale,” she said. “The conference is ‘Africana Studies’ Impact on the Academy,’ looking at the study of African people and the diasporas around the world.” The keynote address, “Minorities in the Academy: Then and Now,” will be given by Earl Lewis, the provost of Emery University. McKenna said Lewis knew Peters when he taught at the University of California, Berkeley, before coming to Notre Dame. There are no plans to continue a pre-doctoral fellowship program like the Peters Fellowship on campus, McKenna said. Pierce said he is grateful for the Fellowship and what it taught the faculty of the University. “We fulfilled the goals we had,” he said. “However, I wish we had more people hired here that came through the program … It’s difficult to think that we didn’t keep them here. Looking at their accomplishments, though, I’m pleased with the little part we played.”
Every morning, Ron Lee wakes up before the sunrise, hits the gym and drives the two hours it takes to get to campus from his home in Lake Elsinore, California. Coffee in hand, he walks around USC’s numerous food venues — from Nekter to Panda Express — greeting the workers before making his way through the flood of emails that arrive in his inbox every day.Since July 27, when he began work as the new associate director of retail operations for Hospitality, Lee has made it a habit of getting to know everyone who works under him, a philosophy he developed in an area far removed from the academic environment of the university — the fast-paced world of professional sports. Managing hospitality operations for teams all over Southern California, Lee said, got him started in the hospitality industry — and kindled his passion for innovation and progress.“What I love about professional sports is the fact that the fans’ experiences and expectations change every single year,” Lee said. “The fun part is being able to challenge yourself and your team every year to bring out the innovations to see what kind of fun and crazy things you can do.”Lee spent 11 years working at sports arenas, from Angel Stadium, home of the Empire 66ers, to Qualcomm Stadium, where he spent four years with the San Diego Chargers. Even earlier, before he was introduced to the world of sports hospitality, Lee spent four years managing various locations of the popular Claim Jumper restaurant chain in San Bernardino. However, before the management positions, at restaurants, sports stadiums and now at Hospitality, Lee started out exactly like the people he now oversees: as a service worker.“I started flipping omelets the day I turned 16,” Lee said.It’s this humble start that drives Lee’s employee-centered approach, where his focus is on drawing his team together, supporting each person’s growth and encouraging innovative ideas.“I’ve always known that my passion was within the hospitality industry,” Lee said. “That’s what I like to do — work with people, develop people and have fun doing it.”As associate director, Lee works directly with nine managers who manage the 22 different retail venues throughout both of the University’s campuses — the University Park Campus and Health Sciences Campus. Though daily operations involve keeping each venue running smoothly, Lee’s main focus is on expansion: He’s always looking forward, planning what can be done and working to put it into action.“A lot of the job is future planning because of the constant expansion of the campus,” Lee said. “Brainstorming, really trying to find ways to take the student and faculty experience with Hospitality to the next level.”According to Lee, this idea of expansion and innovation is what drew him to USC in the first place.“[I was drawn to] the passion that the hospitality team here has for innovating and trying to lead the way for the next generation,” Lee said. “The sky’s the limit with this type of environment and having the freedom to make conceptual ideas and turn them into reality is one of the most exciting things [about working here].”Kris Klinger, Lee’s supervisor and vice president of retail operations at USC, believes that Lee’s vision makes him more than just a competent manager.“He’s doing what a great leader does,” Klinger said. “He’s assessing and spending a lot of time with his team members, understanding why they do what they do and how they’re doing it.”Aside from his work with USC, Lee also sits on the Board of Directors of Juma Ventures, a San Francisco nonprofit that helps kids in urban areas overcome poverty and work toward a college education. Lee’s involvement is, according to him, a product of his belief in helping his community.“It’s very rewarding to be able to be part of [the process] and see some of the youth who, without the support of a company like Juma, would go down the wrong path,” Lee said. “Making a positive impact on students is what [I’m passionate] about.”Just as he sees a future for the students he helps through Juma Ventures, Lee clearly envisions a future for USC — and works to implement it every day through his work with USC Hospitality.“The goal is to be able to create the ultimate experience for the students,” Lee said.
Ghana defender Danny Pappoe says he is ready to fight for a place in the Black Satellites team after receiving a call-up for next month’s FIFA U20 World Cup in Turkey.The 19 year old burly defender, who is captain of Chelsea reserve team, is one of the few foreign players invited by coach Sellas Tetteh for the tournament.Pappoe in an exclusive interview with Joy Sports expressed delight with his first ever Ghana call-up for the Youth World Cup and is hoping to make an instant impact.“I had a good season at Chelsea so when the invite came I was glad to get here, is one of the best feelings ever had after breaking into the Chelsea reserve team,” said Pappoe“For me to get a call up to the Ghana U20 team it was up there with one of the best feelings ever had in my football career.“I’m looking forward to the World Cup because is every individual’s dream to play in the World Cup, it doesn’t matter the age group so I’m really looking forward to it.”