Stephanie D. Harriston-Diggs, senior major gifts officer in the Office of Individual Giving, and Michael K. Owu, a planning officer in the Planning Office, have been honored as MIT's YMCA Black Achievers for 1996.
The Black Achievers program recognizes African-Americans in the Boston area as well as regions served by 75 other YMCAs around the country. Recipients are nominated for their professional accomplishments and their volunteer community service with young people. As part of the program, they agree to commit at least 40 hours with youths in the Black Achievers Community Service Program.
Ms. Harriston-Diggs, who has been at MIT since 1987, received the BS in human development and the MEd in special education from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. She is now working toward her doctorate in education administration.
Her duties include recruiting and supervising volunteer solicitors and developing solicitation strategies for Institute officers. From 1987-91, she was an assistant dean for student affairs in the Office of Residence and Campus Activities. She has also done special-education teaching and administration at several Boston-area elementary and secondary schools from 1973-87.
Ms. Harriston-Diggs has been president of the Dr. William B. Price Memorial Unit of the American Cancer Society and Comprehensive School-Age Parenting Program, Inc. She also sits on the boards of community organizations including project STEP, Cambridge Community Service, the American Cancer Society (Massachusetts division) and Opera unMet. Within MIT, she has been a mentor in the Office of Minority Education, a co-leader of several training workshops on diversity and communication, and a member of the Women's Advisory Board, the Sexual Harassment Committee and the Medical Consumers Advisory Board.
"Stephanie is a tireless worker and a genuinely good person," said Ron Suduiko, assistant to the president for government and community relations, in his nominating letter for Ms. Harriston-Diggs. Citing her volunteer involvement with MIT's Ad Hoc Task Force on Career Development of Minority Administrators, he added, "At MIT, she is a team player and role model for those who seek to enhance the capacity of MIT to fulfill its education and research mission, and someone who will no doubt continue to serve the Institute and society well."
Mr. Owu received the SB in architectural design from MIT in 1986 and has worked in the Planning Office since then. He develops planning materials, manages the Institute's classroom renovation program, and administers MIT's accessibility plan in accordance with state and federal accessibility regulations. He is also advisor and managing editor of African Technology Forum, an MIT-affiliated international journal that covers scientific and technological developments affecting Africa.
Mr. Owu has also been involved in the Institute's reengineering efforts, serving as a member of the Student Services Reengineering Team and as captain of the Grounds Services Redesign Team.
"Michael is truly an outstanding individual, both personally and professionally," Senior Vice President William Dickson wrote in nominating Mr. Owu for the award. "His work with classroom planning and design and the Americans with Disabilities Act program reaches every facet of our community-students, faculty and staff. he is conscientious and disciplined and a real asset, not only to the Planning Office, but to MIT as a whole. I wholeheartedly endorse Michael for this award in recognition of his dedication and commitment to others."
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 11, 1996.