Loyola University Chicago

Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing


Loyola names 2015 Spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. Award winners

Loyola names 2015 Spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. Award winners

The Spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award Winners (from left), Charles Pearson, Emily Kertzman, LaBianca Wright and Alexander Argianas, were selected due to their inspirational service to others in the spirit of the late civil rights leader.

MAYWOOD, Ill. (Jan. 20, 2015) – Loyola University Chicago and Loyola University Health System today presented their Spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards to individuals on the Health Sciences Campus who provide inspirational service to others in the spirit of the late civil rights leader.

The University honored Alexander Argianas, a School of Biomedical Sciences master’s student, for his volunteer work at the Employment Center at DuPage PADS in Wheaton, Ill., an organization focused on ending homelessness in the surrounding community. At the Employment Center, Argianas meets with clients and helps them create resumes, emails and cover letters and provides tutoring in math and science.

Emily Kertzman, a student in the accelerated BSN program of the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, was recognized for her work as a medical assistant at Lawndale Christian Health Center and for her commitment to racial reconciliation through community development in healthcare. Kertzman calls North Lawndale her home. Living and working in this disadvantaged community on Chicago’s West Side has transformed her understanding of the social determinants of health that influence so many lives. 

LaBianca Wright, a Stritch School of Medicine student, received the award for her work in the launch of Loyola’s chapter of Health Professions Recruitment & Exposure Program (HPREP). This program prepares minority students from low-income families for careers in healthcare. Wright also volunteers at the student-run clinic in Rogers Park and has been active in global work in Haiti and Kenya. She was recently recognized by the American Medical Association with the “Physicians of Tomorrow Scholarship” for her academic achievements and community engagement.

The 2015 Health System award winner was Charles Pearson, an officer in the department of security and safety. Pearson has worked at Loyola for 30 years. He was chosen for the ministry work he does in the prison system, with area homeless and as an associate pastor at his church.

The honorees formally accepted their awards at the Spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. event held in the Paul V. Galvin Memorial Chapel.

The keynote speech was given by Richard Payne, MD, professor of medicine and divinity at Duke University. He spoke about what his patients and Dr. King have taught him about dignity.

Linda Brubaker, MD, MS, interim provost, Health Sciences Division, and dean and chief diversity officer of Stritch, closed by urging staff, faculty and students  to join the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities’ (AJCU) efforts to add individual names to a statement of solidarity that affirms “BLACK lives matter, ALL lives matter, JUSTICE matters.” Participants are asked to e-mail odi@scu.edu from their campus email address, indicate in the subject line I endorse the call to action and include name, title and school.