3 men earn title of ‘gentleman’ for efforts on campus

Abraham Alem, senior in electrical engineering, sits with his mother before the DSTinguished Gents awards were given away Friday. Alem received one for scholarship. (Tommy Theis)

Friday night was one for “unsung heroes” as three men were recognized for the work they do — often outside of the public eye.

“There are so many men on this campus that put forth so much work and they go unrecognized, so we use this event to recognize those whose work goes unnoticed,” said Deborah Muhwezi, senior in mass communications and president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

Friday night in the Flint Hills Room of the K-State Student Union, the sorority put on its second annual DSTinguished Gents award ceremony.

Three multicultural men — Kerry Gooch, Abraham Alem and Brandon Clark — were recognized for their commitment to three categories: brotherhood, scholarship and service.

Deborah Muhwezi said she hopes the event will continue in the future.

“We hope to continue to really recognize those young men who are really doing a lot of things on campus, and we hope this encourages other men to do the right thing,” she said. “It is nice to be rewarded, and I am glad my sorority has taken the time out to do so.”

Each man was given a title to go along with his award.

Kerry Gooch: “Man of Business”

Gooch, sophomore in political science, earned the award for brotherhood.

A proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Student Governing Association’s intern program, Union Programming Council’s executive board, New Student Support chair for the Black Student Union and one of the creators of K-State’s new Multicultural Pre-Law Society, Gooch earned his private pilot license at K-State Salina last year.

Although he has only been at K-State for a short while, he has already made his mark on campus, said Angela Muhwezi, sophomore in biology and member of the sorority.

His passionate work ethic and uplifting spirit inspires those people he encounters. Among his peers, he has been referred to as “the realest person I know” and “a brother among brothers,” she said.

Gooch said he was surprised when he learned about the DSTinguished Gents Award

“I didn’t think I would get anything for what I did on campus,” he said. “It confused me, like maybe they contacted the wrong person.”

Gooch said he is thankful for the award as it has inspired him to do more.

“I feel like I didn’t do anything worthy of recognition, but it is cool that people are watching me and notice what I do even when I am not expecting people to see my work as I am not looking for recognition,” he said.

Abraham Alem: “Man of Suave like a New Yorker”

Alem, who earned the award for scholarship, grew up in Ethiopia and education has always been important to his family. From an early age, Alem, senior in electrical engineering, was interested in electronics and learned about computers from his father.

Alem paid for college out of his own pocket from the start and did not receive his first scholarship until three years into his college career.

He is a Tilford Dow scholar, a tutor for the pilots program, chapter president of National Society of Black Engineers and chairman for Engineering a Dream.

Alem is looking toward graduation and either employment or graduate school opportunities for his future, Deborah Muhwezi said.

Alem thanked his mother immensely because he would not be where he is without her love and support.

Brandon Clark: “Man of Honor”

For the past six years, Clark has worked as the assistant director of multicultural programs for the K-State Alumni Association. As of Jan. 25, 2010, he is the academic services coordinator for K-State’s Upward Bound Program while working on his master’s degree in college student personnel.

“I do what I do out of my love and passion for K-State and working with K-State students,” said Clark, who earned the service award.

Clark is in the process of finishing his second year as state director for Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. He serves as a co-adviser to the Black Student Union, mentor for the mentor/mentee program and conference adviser for the Big 12 Conference.

He was involved on campus as a past president of the Black Student Union, National Pan-Hellenic Council and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and served as one of the co-chairs for the 2004 Big 12 Conference at K-State.

“His service and dedication exemplifies his shameless love for making our community a better place, which finds him a delightful treat,” said Abdulrasheed Yahaya, junior in computer science and fellow fraternity member.