December 1, 2008 | General
On November 13, New York City Council honored Lehman’s Center for Urban Male Leadership (UML) with a formal proclamation for its work with black and Latino males. Speaker Christine Quinn and Councilman Larry B. Seabrook were officiates of the ceremony, along with student members Vice President of Student Affairs Jose Magdeleno, Associate Dean John Holloway, and Professor Michael Deas, the Center’s director in attendance. The young men wore blue membership jackets and smiles.
“I am proud of the proclamation and the work we’ve done for the benefit of others, but I am most thankful for the personal growth I have experienced,” said sophomore Vince Bracy.
Bracy has been a part of the Center since its start, in September 2007; he anticipates a career in dentistry.
He added, “I’m ecstatic about being recognized by elected officials for our commitment to the community.”
The attendees got a chance to meet and greet Council members and sit in on a Council meeting.
The Center’s members participate in personal empowerment workshops, faculty/staff mentoring, academic skill development, peer study groups, leadership retreats and career development.
Professor Michael Deas, who teaches African and African-American studies, became director of the Center in September 2008. He is preceded by Trevor Jaha, who many of the Center’s members still give praise.
“Along with Mr. Jaha I learned a lot from this program, like how to present myself around people of stature,” said sophomore Shomari Brown. “I have learned to speak more confidently and take pride in my appearance. I never would imagine myself doing the things I have been a part of anywhere else.”
In 2006 Prof. Deas was awarded Lehman’s Adjunct Excellence in Teaching Award. A Lehman Alumni, he holds a degree in sociology and earned his masters in social work from Fordham University.
Keith Lewis, a junior, joined the Center in September 2007 after attending one of its meetings. Lewis is also an active member of the Student Conference (Student Senate), a Golden Key International Honor Society member and a CUNY Leadership Academy Fellow. After graduation he intends to get a graduate degree in Business Administration.
“This year has been very dynamic with the hard work of Professor Deas,” said Lewis. “He is relentless at getting the word out about the Center and has provided an outlet for us to showcase our work and share our stories.”
The Center is in its second full year of operation. Its mission is to encourage and facilitate academic success of Lehman students so that they will increase retention and graduation rates, especially among young men, who are significantly outnumbered by female students.
For more information about the Center for Urban Male Leaders stop by Shuster Hall 210 or call (718) 960-2247.