On Wednesday, February 25, the Office of Spiritual Life, Diversity, and Service honored members of the campus community, including Vice Provost Gerald Doyle, who are working to advance the civil rights movement at the Fifth Annual Sheldon H. Nahmod Civil Rights Awards Ceremony.

The Sheldon H. Nahmod Civil Rights Awards honor Sheldon H. Nahmod, a distinguished professor at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law whose work in supporting civil rights and civil liberties continually inspires Illinois Institute of Technology faculty, staff, and students.


11021356_1606961512849561_7626685658071971366_oJerry was awarded the 2015 Vision Award in recognition of his work advancing access to education for Syrian students and his support of the IIT Syrian Student Initiative.

During the ceremony, Jerry was introduced by two of the Syrian initiative students who experienced the power of his Vision: Mouna and Salam Abdulrazzak. A portion of their introduction is included below.

“We still remember the first day we…met Jerry and his team. We were very nervous, but we found the kindest and warmest welcome we could ever imagine. On that day Jerry told us that he wanted to try to get 50 students from Syria. We thought this is amazing but we did not really think it was possible…Jerry and his team proved that we were wrong. They worked very hard to reach out to students in Syria and to support their application process…And YES they DID it and within a few weeks there were 14 Syrian students starting school on IIT’s campus. As of today, there have been 39 of us.

Through the past 3 years, every day we find nothing but every support and encouragement in every possible way. It always make me happy and very inspired when I see him around campus and he starts talking about his plans and what doors we can open to bring more students from everywhere in the world and help them to get better education…

Benjamin Franklin said that “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest,” and that is exactly what Jerry did. He invested in all of us, he believes that every human being, regardless of their background or where they are coming from, deserves to get the chance for a higher and better education. And he definitely has changed the lives of all of us. Each one of us has bigger dreams now, and definitely we all have one common dream, and that is to make this world a better place.”

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Fifth Annual Sheldon H. Nahmod Civil Rights Awards Ceremony