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January 21, 2022

SVSU’s chief diversity officer recognized for exemplary service to the Great Lakes Bay Region

Mamie T. Thorns, associate vice president and chief diversity officer for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Saginaw Valley State University has been honored with the MLK Jr. Unity Award by the Iota Chi Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, a fraternity that has long been committed to the African-American community’s fight for civil rights. The MLK Jr. Unity Award is one of the highest community awards that the Iota Chi Lambda chapter confers on citizens in the Great Lakes Bay Region. 

“It’s an honor to be the recipient of the MLK Jr. Unity Award. I would like to thank the Iota Chi Lambda chapter for this distinguished recognition,” said Thorns. “To be honored in this way on this day allows me to reflect on the years that I have attempted to keep the dream of MLK alive in my own heart and how I’ve unabashedly strived to encourage others to remember and be inspired by his legacy. In my spirit I can hear ringing loudly the resolute words of Dr. King: ‘We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.’”  

Smallwood Holoman, a member of the Iota Chi Lambda chapter, said, “We scoured the community to try to identify people who indeed bring service to our community. Dr. Thorns personifies Dr. King’s philosophy.” 

Holoman cited Thorns’s involvement with the Bridge Center for Racial Harmony, the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Regional Celebration and the Great Lakes Bay Regional Youth Leadership Initiative as a few outstanding examples of her service.  

Thorns joined SVSU in 2002 and has over 30 years of administrative experience in higher education. In her current role, she leads SVSU’s programs related to diversity, equal opportunity and Title IX. She serves as the primary advisor to SVSU’s president and leads a community-based advisory council that focuses on matters related to maintaining and enhancing a diverse and dynamic campus environment. Thorns chairs SVSU’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, which advises and implements innovative programs for the campus and the Great Lakes Bay Region.