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Layne, Henderson are named Black Achievers

Black Achiever awardees Evette M. Layne, director of the MIT/Wellesley Upward Bound Program, and Associate Dean Arnold R. Henderson Jr.
Black Achiever awardees Evette M. Layne, director of the MIT/Wellesley Upward Bound Program, and Associate Dean Arnold R. Henderson Jr.
Photo / Donna Coveney

Associate Dean Arnold R. Henderson Jr. and Evette M. Layne, director of the MIT/Wellesley Upward Bound Program, have been named MIT's winners of the 2000 YMCA Black Achiever Award.

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.

Dean Henderson, who has headed Counseling and Support Services since October 1996, came to MIT as an assistant dean for counseling in 1986. He became an associate dean in 1993.

A graduate of the University of Massachusetts/Boston (BA in English, 1970) and Boston State College (MEd in 1976), Dean Henderson was an assistant to the dean and an assistant dean from 1984-86 at Brandeis University, where he was named Person of the Year in 1986. Prior to that, he was a counselor at Salem State College and taught English and social studies at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School.

Dean Henderson was a member of the President's Americans with Disabilities Act Advisory Committee and chaired its Student Services Subcommittee.

"Dean Henderson has contributed significantly to the furtherance of the mission of MIT," Dean Leo Osgood Jr. said in a letter nominating Dean Henderson for the Black Achievers Award. "He has provided support for all students and exhibited an unwavering commitment to students' concerns and issues... He has worked tirelessly to improve and strengthen the ability of CSS to deliver effective services to the student population."

Ms. Layne, who has been director of the MIT/Wellesley Upward Bound Program since 1990, received an MIT President's Community Service Award in 1999. The program was established in 1966 with the objective of serving low-income and first-generation youth from Cambridge seeking to attend college. Ms. Layne participated in the program from 1973-76, when she was a student at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School.

She earned the BS from Morgan State University (1980) and the MS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1982) in social work before joining the Upward Bound staff in 1983. During her tenure, as director, 92 percent of the more than 300 young men and women who have participated in the program have gone on to post-secondary education.

Ms. Layne, who served on the Public Service Center Fellowship Selection Committee in 1994, has been a freshman advisor to members of the Classes of 2003 and 2004.

In nominating Ms. Layne, Ronald Crichlow, director of Educational Opportunities Programs, said: "When I think of Evette and her work with youth, two words come to mind: commitment and compassion. Evette has been an indefatigable worker on behalf of hundreds of young people. Whether the youths are of the MIT/Wellesley Upward Bound Program, a community organization or church, Evette has always been willing to commit unselfishly her energy, time and other personal resources. Furthermore, I know that Evette is compassionate about her work on behalf of others as it provides her with an opportunity to continue a tradition of community ministry started by her grandmother and passed on to her by her mother. I can think of no one who is more deserving of this recognition."

Dean Henderson has been a member of the President's Planning Committee for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration for many years. Ms. Layne served on that committee in from 1990-97.

The Black Achiever awards were presented at a banquet on January 25 in the Copley Marriott Hotel. The emcee was Channel 4 anchor Liz Walker.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 7, 2001.

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