From left, Kai Kornegay, Michelle Ray Dorman, Vernoca Michael, Akudo Ijeoma Ejelonu, Martha Anderson, and Caelan Isaiah Purvy. — UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

The Women of Color at Penn 31st Annual Awards Luncheon recently drew more than 300 people to the Inn at Penn to honor women whose work has promoted education, cultural diversity, and positive change on campus and in the world.

“We can be very proud of everything that has been accomplished at Penn and beyond in the years since WOCAP began,” Penn President Amy Gutmann said in a welcome message published in the program. “Yet, the struggle for equity and empowerment continues. We have our champions in the ongoing effort, among whose number we most certainly count today’s honorees. Penn could not be the preeminent university it is today without their talent, leadership, and passionate dedication to working toward an ever better future for people here and everywhere.”

The Undergraduate Student Award went to Kai Kornegay, a senior in the School of Arts and Sciences, for her “strong campus leadership” and work within the LGBT community. The Graduate Student honoree is Akudo Ijeoma Ejelonu, cited for community service to tackle social justice issues. She is pursuing a dual master’s degree in public health at the Perelman School of Medicine and in environmental studies in Penn Arts and Sciences.

The Community Award recipient is Vernoca L. Michael, cited as a “pillar in the West Philadelphia community.” Amelia Michelle Carter, assistant director of the South Asia Center, received the Faculty/Staff Award for her work in intersectional programming on issues of access and equality.

This year, the Joann Mitchell Outstanding Legacy Award, named for the senior vice president for institutional affairs and chief diversity officer at Penn, honored Michelle Ray Dorman, who for 17 years worked in various positions in the Department of Residential Living, and the late Tiffany-Anderson Purvy, who worked at Greenfield Intercultural Center as an administrative assistant from 1996 until her death in 2004. Accepting the award on her behalf were her mother and son, Martha Anderson and Caelan Isaiah Purvy.

Contact Johann Calhoun at or call at (215) 893-5739

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