photo by Robert Lisak
The Black Law Student Association at the Quinnipiac University School of Law presented its Thurgood Marshall Award to Kenneth Reels, vice-chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Gaming Commission and former chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, on March 25th in the Grand Courtroom at the School of Law Center.
The Thurgood Marshall Award honors an individual who exemplifies the values of equality and civil rights for which Marshall fought. Past recipients include Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bill Cosby.
Kenneth worked for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation since 1987. He began his career as a property purchasing and contracting officer. He served on the Tribal Council from 1991 to 2008, and was named to his current position in February 2009. Kenneth held many elected offices within the Tribe, including Tribal Councilor, Tribal Vice Chairman and Tribal Chairman.
While serving on the Tribal Council, he chaired numerous standing tribal committees, teams, boards and authorities. Kenneth currently serves as the Tribe’s representative on the board of directors of the Native American Bancorporation — the only inter-Tribally-owned bank in the country and an important initiative in Indian economic self-determination.
Kenneth received numerous awards from community organizations, including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s “Man of the Year” award for being a role model and for his commitment to the health and well-being of the Tribe; the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity’s Achievement Award for Professional Accomplishment and Outstanding Service to the Greater Hartford Community; and the State of Connecticut Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission’s Humanitarian Award for his commitment to human values, interests and concerns.
The Black Law Students Association also presented its Community Service Award to Nadia L. Ward, Director of Urban Education & Prevention Research at The Consultation Center and assistant professor at the Yale School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry.
Nadia’s extensive work in the area of academic achievement for African American and Latino youth spanned over 20 years and includes training and consultation to universities, public school systems and private organizations, curriculum development, program development, implementation, and evaluation. Nadia works extensively with high-risk, as well as, high achieving urban youth and their families in a variety of capacities. She designs and evaluates academic enrichment and competence enhancing substance abuse and violence prevention programs in school and community settings.