SU dean, associate vice president will be honored for their community accomplishments on Dec. 6
SU dean, associate vice president will be honored for their community accomplishments on Dec. 6December 04, 2008SU News ServicesSUnews@syr.edu
Bethaida “Bea” Gonzalez, dean of University College, and Linda Littlejohn, associate vice president, South Side Initiative, are among eight local women of accomplishment who will be honored for their achievements by the 100 Black Men of Syracuse Inc. Interest Group during the group’s inaugural honors dinner dance, “Celebrating Women Making a Difference,” at Onondaga Community College on Saturday, Dec. 6.
Vincent Love, president of 100 Black Men of Syracuse, says this year’s event honors individuals who have worked toward improving the quality of life and enhancing educational and economic opportunities. “Our selection committee felt that each one of these women has demonstrated in their own particular way the type of achievement and community activism that young people can emulate,” Love says. “It is our desire to honor their commitment, determination and dedication to making this a better community.”
In addition to Gonzalez and Littlejohn, honorees include Vicki Brackens, senior financial planner with Brackens Financial Solutions Network; Mary Nelson, founder of the Youth Day Barbecue school supply giveaway program; Jackie Grace-Rasheed, co-founder and co-director of the former Grace Children’s Academy and principal of Roxboro Road Elementary School in North Syracuse; Jackie Robinson, news anchor at WSTM-TV; Sharon Jack-Williams, executive director of the Dunbar Center; and Amatullah Yamini, real estate developer and owner of Salina Shoe Salon.
Gonzalez has more than 20 years’ experience in continuing education and a distinguished record of public service, and currently serves as president of the Syracuse Common Council. Appointed dean at University College (UC) of Syracuse University in 2007, Gonzalez was previously interim dean and associate dean at UC, the home of part-time studies at SU. She joined the University in 1987 as an academic advisor.
She has been elected to public office three times. In 2001, Gonzalez became the first Latino/a to be elected president of the Syracuse Common Council. Previously, she served on the Syracuse City School District’s Board of Education, chairing the Alternative Education Committee.
Gonzalez was named a Hispanic American of Distinction in New York state and an Unsung Heroine by the Central New York National Organization of Women. In 2005, she was honored by Peace Action of Central New York for “building bridges to peace.” Gonzalez also received an SU Chancellor’s Citation for Service and the SU Women of Influence Award. In 2006, she received the “Entre Nosotras” Award, followed by the YWCA Academy of Diversity Achievers Award in 2007. She received the YWCA Spirit of American Women Award in October.
Littlejohn received her undergraduate degree from SU in 1980, and then M.PA. and M.S.W. degrees in 1982, both also from SU.
After graduation, Littlejohn worked as the assistant planner for the Area Agency on Aging in Ohio. She later moved to New York City and worked for Jamaica Service Program for Older Adults-a community-based social service agency. In 1990, she returned to SU. In 1992, she was appointed the assistant dean of SU’s School of Social Work. Several years later, she became the assistant dean of the SU College of Human Services and Health Professions. In 2005, Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor appointed Littlejohn as the first black woman associate vice president at the University.
Littlejohn’s leadership of the Syracuse University South Side Initiative has resulted in many successful projects that assist with revitalizing the South Side community. Through projects that address community needs in the areas of technology, education, communication, arts and culture, and health and wellness, she is working with residents and community organizations like the Southside Community Coalition, Dunbar Association, Onondaga Public Library, Onondaga Historical Association, CNY Works, GroundWorks Capital Coalition, Home Headquarters, Matilda Jocelyn Gage House, and UMI and Associates to build community capacity and neighborhood cohesiveness.
The 100 Black Men of Syracuse Inc. is a two-year old group that is seeking to become a local chapter of 100 Black Men of America Inc. In the future, the group plans to expand this annual fundraising event to honor businesses, public and private agencies, and other civic organizations.
For more information about the honors event or the 100 Black Men of Syracuse organization, contact Love at 443-8749 or firstname.lastname@example.org.