Upsilon Theta Pi Event 2013

Annual Ceremony Highlights Successes of Women Who Have Demonstrated a Commitment to Academic Excellence and Community Service

Former Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Yvonne Graham Delivers Remarks

Brooklyn, NY – Medgar Evers College’s Center for Women’s Development announced today that seven women students and two faculty members were inducted into the Upsilon Theta Pi Women’s Academic Honor Society. The inductees were joined by Medgar Evers College Interim Provost & Senior Vice President Dr. Karrin E. Wilks, CUNY Board Member & Trustee Freida Foster, Women’s Center Director Kareen Odate, along with staff, family and friends. Former Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Yvonne Graham and current New York State Department of Health Associate Commissioner, who served as Director of the Office of Health Disparities Prevention delivered the keynote remarks.

“The Center for Women’s Development celebrates the accomplishments of a group of outstanding women with a great commitment to success and uplifting others,” said Dr. Pollard. “Induction into the Upsilon Theta Pi Academic Honor Society holds a special meaning for each woman as she joins a sisterhood of supportive and like-minded women; and our student inductees get the benefit of access to a stellar group of women.”

Each year, the Center selects a number of deserving students of the Upsilon Theta Pi Academic Honor Society following a rigorous application process. Additionally, faculty members and external stakeholders with extensive records of service and support to their community are frequently also invited to become honorary members. Their membership is affirmed at an induction ceremony which recognizes and celebrates scholarship and community service.

This year’s inductees are Modupe Ayodele, Marilyn McGuire, Luisa Veronica Thompson, Ayesha Wilkins, Tarana Goodings, Queen Irabor and Rhode-Elise St. Jacques; the inducted faculty honorary members are Psychology Professor Dr. Patricia Canson and Education Professor Dr. Donna Wright.

As an honorary member of Upsilon Theta Pi, Ms. Graham spoke to the importance of character, scholarship, service, and leadership: qualities which epitomize the distinguished faculty, students, and external stakeholders who are selected to become members of Upsilon Theta Pi Academic Honor Society.

“I congratulate Medgar Evers College and Kareen Odate of the Center for Women’s Development on the occasion of their Fifth Annual Upsilon Theta Pi Academic Honor Society Induction Ceremony,” said Commissioner Yvonne Graham. “In addition to expanding their academic horizons, induction and membership, the UTP honor society is a critical step in providing students with opportunities and tools that will inspire their collective energies; and strengthen their skills in leadership, modeling, civic engagement and community service so that others may benefit from their talents.”

Prior to assuming her role as Associate Commissioner, Ms. Graham served for 10 years as the Deputy Borough President of Brooklyn working alongside Borough President Marty Markowitz on all issues pertinent to the borough, with primary responsibility for health policy and all human services. Among her major accomplishments are the co-founding of the Brooklyn Center on Health Disparities which works to reduce health disparities among minorities and new immigrants through clinical and community-based research, education, outreach and training; the Brooklyn Community Transformation Coalition established to respond to the structural and systemic factors which undermine well-being; the Brooklyn Public Health Funding Task force which advocates for equity in funding for health care; and the Brooklyn Young Women’s Leadership Initiative to serve as a pipeline for women’s advancement.

“Our students, through their steadfast commitment to academic excellence and service, have earned their place amongst these exceptionally accomplished powerhouses; they will undoubtedly go on to do great things,” said Women’s Center Director Kareen Odate.

“Having access to each other – in a first meeting like this – opens the doors for opportunities that can help our inductees to grow and enhance their abilities,” said Interim Provost & Senior Vice Chancellor Dr. Karrin E. Wilks. “We’re proud of the Center for Women’s Development and the work it does to acknowledge the selfless commitment of these inductees.”

About Upsilon Theta Pi Academic Honor Society

Upsilon Theta Pi Academic Honor Society was established in 2008  to serve as an academic sisterhood committed to upholding the principles of scholarship, beneficence, leadership and transformation. Membership is a special honor afforded only to outstanding female students who have maintained a minimum GPA of 3.5 and who have demonstrated a commitment to volunteerism.

About the Center for Women’s Development

The Center for Women’s Development at Medgar Evers College provides direct services, support and programming for women students by offering specialized services that support personal development; assisting students to address issues affecting self-actualization and quality of life; engaging the college, university and community in proactively addressing issues faced by women students, and promoting equal access to higher education through institutionalized support, including counseling, advocacy, referrals, and development and implementation of education forums and events. The Center is open to all without regard to gender, race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.


Dawn S. Walker (Communications)    (718) 530-4539

Kareen Odate (MEC Women’s Center)       (718) 270-5022