by Dr. Ed Mullins
Director of Research and Communication, Division of Community Affairs
Dr. Beverly Hawk, director of Global and Community Engagement in the Division of Community Affairs at The University of Alabama, is the recipient of the Alabama Fulbright Association Chapter’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She is the first person to receive the award, which recognizes her many contributions and years of service to the Fulbright mission of mutual understanding through international educational exchange.
The award was presented in a ceremony at the President’s Home at Auburn University on May 10, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Fulbright Program.
In a letter to Hawk, Dr. Chippewa Thomas, director of the Auburn University Office of Faculty Engagement, wrote: “As the current president of the Alabama Fulbright Association Chapter, I commend you for your long-standing commitment and meritorious service to the Fulbright Program … . Your work in the first 20 years as the founding president of the Alabama chapter has led to the fulfillment of the Fulbright mission … .”
In accepting the award, Hawk responded:
“My heart is full. To look around the room and see Fulbright alumni I have worked with in the Alabama chapter over the last 25 years brings back to me all the work we have done together building the Fulbright chapter, welcoming Fulbright visitors to our state, sharing our culture with them, and advising applicants to submit their applications to the national competition. I see some of the winners here tonight. I think of how our Fulbright chapter brought together the many different educational institutions of Alabama to work together for cultural understanding, and, historically, many had not worked together. We are a great success, and I am thrilled to be honored during our 75th Anniversary celebration of the Fulbright Program.”
Hawk was accompanied to the awards dinner by UA Vice President for Community Affairs Dr. Samory Pruitt. “Dr. Hawk has been instrumental in helping to make Fulbright opportunities for students and faculty at the University,” said Pruitt, to whom Hawk has reported for the past 10 years. Pruitt continued: “Hawk has applied wisdom from her own Fulbright experiences in Kenya, Malawi and Morocco in developing an innovative strategy” in recruiting UA students for Fulbright awards.
At the Auburn ceremony, as she presented the award to Hawk, Dr. Stacey Nickson of Auburn University, herself a Fulbright grant recipient to South Africa and Ghana, as well as a former chapter president and a member of the National Fulbright Association Board of Directors, said, “Like so many of us here, I was drawn to the Fulbright Program by Dr. Hawk. She literally changed the trajectory of my life and career by identifying my potential and mentoring me in becoming a Fulbrighter. We join here tonight to recognize her contributions to both the Fulbright program and its core mission of world peace.”
Three years after Hawk was asked to take on the task of promoting and recruiting Fulbrights, UA won national Top Producer status for the first time in its history. As a dedicated member of UA’s Fulbright advising team, Hawk has contributed to more than 100 student Fulbright awards and repeated national Fulbright Top Producer recognition for the University.
Thanks in large part to Hawk’s work, the Fulbright advising team at the University in 2022 can claim five research and study award winners and 10 English Teaching Awards, very likely earning UA another year in the Top Producer ranks.
As director of Global and Community Engagement in UA’s Center for Community-Based Partnerships, an initiative of the Division of Community Affairs, Hawk brings international students and UA students together as language partners to build ties and create mutual understanding.
A lifetime member of the Fulbright Association, Hawk is the founding president of the Alabama Chapter. In 2000, the U.S. secretaries of state and education honored Hawk with the Millennium International Volunteer Award for her initiatives in pursuing international understanding.
She describes her professional life as one “motivated by a desire to share the Fulbright ideal to promote mutual understanding through international educational engagement.”
Since Hawk began recruiting Fulbright student applicants to serve as English teaching assistants or to conduct research and study abroad, the University advising effort has grown and UA has been a national Top Producer five times.
Hawk received her bachelor’s degree in political science from John Carroll University, her master’s in African studies from Howard University, and a master’s and her PhD in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the recipient of the Sigma Delta Chi Award Medallion of the Society of Professional Journalists for Africa Media Image, a book that shaped the field of media studies in the African studies discipline.