Henderson honored with ELA award


Jordyn Toscano

Professor Silvester Henderson conducts a rehearsal for the Fall Choral Adventure Concert with the Chamber Chorale.

Katie Loughran, @Katie__Loughran

Los Medanos College Professor Silvester Henderson will be honored with the African American Male Education Network & Development (A²MEND) Educational Leadership Award. The ceremony will take place at the organization’s annual Scholarship Awards Dinner Thursday, March 5th 2020 at 6:30 p.m.

According to dinner coordinator Murrell Green, M.S., in an email to Henderson, the A²MEND Educational Leadership Award will be honoring the LMC professor’s “advocacy, mentorship, and support for increasing the success of African American males in both community colleges and beyond.”

Continuing, Green wrote, “Your leadership and fortitude in fostering institutional change within the community college system to improve the success of students, and in particularly African American males, certainly deserves recognition and on behalf of the entire A²MEND organization, we would like to thank you for the inspiring work that you do.” 

The organization honoring Henderson consists of volunteer faculty and administrators from community colleges who work towards the growth of institutional change within the community college system. Furthermore, their first African American Male Summit in 2008 brought many like-minded individuals together to comprehensively address various strategies that have a major impact on the success of male African American students.

The award dinner event also doubles as a fundraiser event for participants in the organization’s student mentoring program.

Included in the many LMC faculty and staff to congratulate Henderson was Child Development Professor Janice Townsend, who’s worked at the college for 17 years, and has known Henderson for a little over a decade.  

“We deeply bonded over our efforts to help make this college a place where all students can succeed,” said Townsend.

Townsend also spoke highly of the professor and his efforts to close the opportunity gap commonly found with African American men in the community college system. This was exemplified by his appointment to the State Academic Senate to lead diversity work for all the community colleges in the state.

“Silvester has worked tirelessly to change [the opportunity gap]. Our college and curriculum are not very culturally relevant to the African American Community. Professor Henderson has worked to change that though, by bringing the Gospel Music coursework and the major concert he produces with our students. This is probably one of the very first and long-standing initiatives at the college to help redesign our system to get outcomes that we can be proud of.  We aren’t there yet, although we are getting better at this, and Silvester led the way at this college … We should be very proud of Professor Henderson and honored to have him work at LMC. I know I am.” said Townsend.

Townsend was not alone in her unbridled pride. Even, LMC President Bob Kratochvil expressed his appreciation, 

“This award is a testament to Professor Henderson’s outstanding contributions and leadership in support of African American males at Los Medanos College and throughout the State.  The entire LMC community is proud of him, and his recognition by the A2MEND organization is a tremendous honor.”