Jan. 18: MLK Distinguished Service Awards to be presented

martin luther kingPULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University will present its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Awards 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, in the CUB Senior Ballroom.

Award winners include:

  • Ashley Boyd, assistant professor of English.
  • Marcela Pattinson, assistant director of community relations and outreach, Multicultural Student Services.
  • Orion Welch, undergraduate student.
  • Black Student Union.
  • Bob and Colleen Harvey, community members.

The MLK Distinguished Service award recognizes individuals or groups that promote human rights and social justice in one or all of the following:  altruism and community service, advancement of diversity, and education and inclusion.

Ashley Boyd

Boyd Ashley

Ashley Boyd, Ph.D., assistant professor of English, is a pioneer in her field and a leader in the community. She began her tenure at WSU in the fall of 2014, teaching  graduate courses on critical and cultural theory and undergraduate courses on English Methods and Young Adult Literature.  Boyd’s work emphasizes social justice and often extends beyond the college campus into school districts, both local and statewide. She travels to surrounding schools regularly and acts as an agent of change while discussing social issues and assisting with the development of transformative policies and curriculum. Boyd recently shared her research centered on LGBTQ+ student populations at the NW Teaching Social Justice conference. More broadly, her scholarship examines issues of race, gender, mental health and immigration, all of which are highlighted in her recent book Social Justice Literacies in the English Classroom.

Marcela Pattinson

Marcela Pattinson

For more than nine years, Marcela Pattinson has helped to create a diverse and engaging campus for students, faculty and staff at WSU. As the assistant director of community relations and outreach in the office of Multicultural Student Services, she represents one of WSU’s strongest student advocates and often brings the voices of those marginalized or oppressed to the table during policy discussions. Her work as coordinator for the Washington State Educational Access Coalition lead to statewide changes in recruiting and retention, and brought WSU and UW together as allies advocating federal, state and institutional polices around their common work with undocumented students. Pattinson also fills in as chair and advisor to a number of student organizations and works tirelessly one-on-one to ensure that low-income, first generation and undocumented students do not fall though the cracks.

Orion Welch

Welch Orion

Orion Welch is an empowered and passionate WSU student who helps generate discussions surrounding issues of power, oppression and large-scale social justice. As the vice president of Black Men Making a Difference, Welch played an instrumental role in organizing the August 2017 WSU sit-in and has met with students, faculty and administrators to outline strategies to make WSU a safe and inclusive environment for all students of color. He has served as a student panelist for the Center for Civic Engagement, worked as a peer mentor in prominent student organizations and is involved with ASWSU multicultural student-led conference VIBES.

Black Student Union

Black Student Union-logoThe Black Student Union continues to lead the way for change at WSU. Through a combination of activism, advocacy and education, BSU enlightens WSU faculty, staff and students on ways to challenge and enrich the campus through large- and small-scale changes. They are committed to holding WSU accountable, working tirelessly as community builders, advocating for underrepresented students, and helping students strive for academic excellence.

Bob and Colleen Harvey

Bob and Collen Harveys

More than 10 years ago Bob and Colleen Harvey developed an extensive conversational English program called “Let’s Talk,” which is open to all international students and their family members. The program attracts students from all over the world and helps them adjust to the Pullman community. The Harveys also volunteer with the WSU Friends and Family program, assisting international students with moving, supplying furniture and home goods, and inviting them to their home for meals and fun activities.  Each year they organize a Thanksgiving feast, which has grown to include more than 130 students, families and guests.

The MLK Community Celebration also will feature keynote speaker Shaun King, an activist and prominent voice in the Black Lives Matter movement. To learn more about King and all WSU events planned in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr., visit http://mlk.wsu.edu.



  • Maria de Jesus Dixon, operations manager, Office of Equity and Diversity, 509-338-9209, mdj.dixon@wsu.edu

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