Forum on Black Affairs Honors Welmon with Humanitarian Award
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA (January 18, 2011) – The Forum on Black Affairs at Penn State selected Vernis Welmon, associate dean of diversity and community at the Smeal College of Business, as recipient of the 2011 Humanitarian Service Award. Welmon accepted the honor at the 36th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Banquet held Jan. 15 at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel.
The Humanitarian Service Award was created in 1985 to honor a person who has provided outstanding service to African-American citizens of Pennsylvania, especially at Penn State and in Centre County. Such service includes leadership in offices, programs or organizations that develop or implement policies impacting African-Americans.
"Vernis has focused his career on making Penn State a more welcoming place for African-Americans and students of all backgrounds," says James B. Thomas, the John and Becky Surma Dean of Smeal. "For nearly 25 years, he has been a steadfast champion of diversity at Smeal as well as a counselor, mentor and friend to hundreds of students and alumni. His true passion is building an environment in the college in which every single student is welcomed and treated with respect. He is truly deserving of this honor."
Welmon has been on the Smeal faculty since 1986, developing and leading programs of recruitment, retention, and alumni relations that have benefited hundreds of minority MBA students. He also oversees Smeal's diversity enhancement programs at other levels and directs the college's efforts in academic integrity.
A popular teacher of international business, Welmon has been honored on multiple occasions for excellence in student advising. He is adviser to Smeal's Minority MBA Association and serves on several University committees dealing with international students, scholars and diversity issues. He previously advised the business and economics fraternity Phi Chi Theta and advises on an informal basis several other minority student organizations at Smeal.
Welmon was a consultant for the Tertiary Education Linkage Project, a partnership between the U.S. and South African governments to improve postsecondary educational institutions in South Africa. He also helped to lead Smeal's role in establishing the Mona School of Business at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica.
Welmon holds a bachelor's degree from Temple University, a master's degree in international affairs from Columbia University, and a doctorate from Penn State.
In 1999, Smeal alumnus Harvey Kimmel and his wife, Virginia, recognized Welmon's diversity efforts with the establishment of the Vernis Welmon Endowment for MBA Minority Affairs. The money earned annually by the fund allows students to travel to conferences, compete in national competitions, organize activities on campus, and take advantage of other opportunities that may arise.