The 2013 Pathfinder Recipients - Scott Fee, Loyola Catholic School and Mankato Hy-Vee Stores, will be honored at the 29th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Celebration on Monday, January 21 at Halling Recital Hall in the Performing Arts Center of Minnesota State University, Mankato.
The event will begin at 5:30 pm. with hors d’ oeuvres and social time. The formal program starts at 6:15 pm. with the presentation of Scholarships and Pathfinder Awards. At 6:30 pm., entertainment will be provided by an African Drum Group, followed by Keynote Speaker Dr. David Nichols. A presidential historian and author, Dr. Nichols has his Ph.D. in history from the College of William and Mary. His dissertation, Lincoln and the Indians: Civil War Policy and Politics, was published in 1978 and is still the definitive study of Lincoln’s Indian policies during the Civil War. The book was reissued in paperback by the University of Illinois Press in 2000 and republished in 2012 by the Minnesota Historical Society Press. He also authored A Matter of Justice: Eisenhower and the Beginning of the Civic Rights Revolution published in 2007 and Eisenhower 1956 published in 2011. Nichols will also be speaking at Minnesota State University, Mankato the following evening, January 22, from 4 – 6 pm.
Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students (free for children 6 and under), and may be purchased in advance at: Greater Mankato Diversity Council, 10 Civic Center Plaza, Mankato; Greater Mankato Growth, 1961 Premier Drive, Suite 100, Mankato; Minnesota State University University, Mankato. Only a limited number of tickets will be available at the door.
Learn about the 2013 Pathfinder Award Recipients!
Pathfinder Award: Scott Fee
The Pathfinder Award recognizes adults or organizations that, in the spirit of Dr. King, are initiators or action takers in the struggle for equal treatment and human rights. The award represents the ideal that all people should be treated fairly and equally without the fear of discrimination on any basis.ln his position as an associate professor of construction management at Minnesota State University, Mankato, Scott Fee has built relationships and partnerships both personally and professionally with South African individuals and institutions to enhance the lives of African and Mankato citizens. Scott has visited South Africa 10 times since 2006; as a study abroad coordinator, conference attendee, found instructor for Eden Campus, and visiting professor at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. Scott's adventures began when he spent a year abroad as a Rotary Exchange student in Australia in 1986 and met South African Steve Carver. Steve and Scott kept in contact via mail and email, and 20 years later, Carver invited Scott to work with him on a new project - Eden Campus, South Africa's first green business school. Eden Campus serves rural South African youth. It teaches stud nets entrepreneurship and the curriculum engages students in business startup ventures. This curriculum, which Scott helped develop, aims to bring sustainable wealth to the students' villages as they leave with learned skills. The vision is that these businesses will bring sustainable wealth and opportunity, helping develop a much needed South African middle class. In 2008 or 2009 Scott worked to initiate Memorandums of Understanding between MSU and Eden Campus. He took a group of construction management and industrial-organizational psychology students in May 2008 and construction management and business stud nets in 2009. Both trips included a service-learning component for students. In 2010, Scott taught for six months as a visiting professor at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth in the NMMU's large School of the Built Environment that offers construction management egress from baccalaureate to doctorate levels. In January 2012, Scott returned to South Africa with a group form MSU that included representatives from administration, the Department of Social work and the Office of International Programs. They visited Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Eden Campus and University of Fort Hare. The goal of the visit, as with all of Scott's efforts over the year, has been to enhance relationships, which will build deeper partnerships for international exchange and research.
Young Pathfinder Award: Loyola Catholic School
The Young Pathfinder Award was created in 2002 to recognize the hard work, commitment and courage displayed by area young people and organizations of young people as they strive, in the spirit of Dr. King, to achieve fair and equal treatment for all, healthy communities and peaceful resolution to conflicts. Loyola Catholic School was named the first Fair Trade School in Minnesota and the third nationwide in the spring of 2012. This distinction was made possible by the diligent and consistent work of a handful of students and advisor Ms. Emily Kracht. As the students learned about Social Justice, they discovered the inequities around the world for laborers to receive a fair price for their goods. The students did not like what they discovered and moved to make a change in their school environment. Their dream is to bring more Fair Trade items to the school lunch program, to educate consumers on what to look for when shopping for Fair Trade items, and to be the voice and action for those laborers who strive to receive a just wage. Activities of the Fair Trade Student Committee include the Banana Dance in the cafeteria, sponsoring a Fair Trade Artisan gift catalog, writing articles for the school newsletter and planning a Fair Trade banquet and ethnic display. Students are learning that Fair Trade certified products come from farms and artisans who are working in safe and healthy environments, free from harsh chemicals and forced labor. Fair Trade organizations cultivate workplaces free of discrimination and abuse, and empower people to participate in the decisions that affect them. Loyola students know the impact of their work in Mankato, MN will be felt around the world. They see beyond the comfort of their homes and lives and strive to bring justice to everyone.
Business Pathfinder Award: Mankato Hy-Vee Stores
The Business Pathfinder Award was established in 2003 and is presented by Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. to recognize businesses that strive for equal treatment, human rights and non-violence in the workplace. The Mankato Hy-Vee stores are this year’s recipient of the Business Pathfinder Award. The two Hy-Vee stores in Mankato (hilltop and downtown) have a long history of operating their business in a way that promotes the ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They have made a proactive commitment to being an equal opportunity employer, providing opportunities and making accommodations for those with physical and mental disabilities, or who are new to the country and the English language. While some businesses may have extensive screening processes to sort out applicants that might be a challenge to work with, Hy-Vee has gone out of their way to provide a welcoming environment that promotes inclusiveness and support for all. Hy-Vee works with multiple agencies that assist people with employment challenges to ensure they have the support they need to be successful. These agencies include MRCI WorkSource, Minnesota Valley Action Council, Lifeworks and the Workforce Center. They also work with and the Mankato Area Public Schools Work Experience Program to provide students with valuable employment experiences. Hy-Vee also shares its inclusive hiring philosophy with others. At a recent presentation to the Greater Mankato Young Professionals about customer service, Manager Dan Olson shared Hy-Vee’s strategies for ensuring that the employees at their stores mirror the entire community and provide an environment of respect in hiring, training and job performance. For example, an employee whose religion prohibits them from handling pork is given assistance from another employee in the check-out process. Hy-Vee also supports the community through generous in-kind and financial donations, including a $1000 annual donation to the Diversity Council. By offering emigrants, disabled adults and young people a chance at a job where they can learn work skills and contribute to the community, the Mankato Hy-Vee stores are making a positive impact on the Greater Mankato community.