Congratulations to the recipients of the The Michael G. Harris Distinguished Service Award. This award, normally presented to one doctor, recognizes outstanding service to the school by alumni. However, in this instance, four alumni demonstrated exemplary service and outstanding collective leadership. Last Spring, continuing acts of violence and hostility against members of the Black community brought forth an urgent and long overdue need to confront deeply embedded systemic racism in our country. It was at this time that these four alumni raised their voices to change the course of our school and ensure our institutional actions demonstrated commitment to justice and anti-racism. These alumni have inspired our entire community and enabled us to move toward justice by enacting tangible change, such as the formation of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) council and action plan, and hiring Dr. Ruth Shoge as our new Director of DEIB. Congratulations Drs. Cristen Adams, Sheryl Guillory Reaves, Farah Gulaid, and Joy Harewood, we are grateful for your leadership of our school and the profession.
The Alumnus of the Year award recognizes one graduate’s service to the profession of optometry, and the 2021 recipient has exemplified this throughout her career. Since graduating in 1979, our awardee has served as the highest-level leader of the NBEO, ARBO, and ABCO. As a fun fact, she is part of the only father-daughter duo to have both served as Presidents of the NBEO. We are delighted to announce that our 2021 Alumna of the Year is Dr. Janet Carter.
Statements from Our Winners!
Alumna of the Year Award
Dr. Janet Carter, Class of 1979
“As the proud holder of three degrees from Cal, and a life member of the California Alumni Association, I can truly say that I am honored and humbled to receive this recognition from my peers. It has been my pleasure to give back to the school and to the profession that I love, and I thank the Herbert Wertheim School of Optometry & Vision Science for giving me such a strong educational background at the start. I loved every minute of my time at Berkeley! Go Bears!”
Michael G. Harris Distinguished Service Award
Dr. Joy Harewood, Class of 2011
“I want to express my gratitude to Dean Flanagan and the Berkeley team for this distinguished award. I am thankful to have been able to reinvigorate the conversation about increasing racial and ethnic diversity at Berkeley Optometry. I am fiercely proud of my Berkeley education, and only wish that more students from underrepresented backgrounds could have access to it. I look forward to seeing how the school works towards creating a more diverse and inclusive campus community.”
Dr. Sheryl Guillory, Class of 2011
“Thank you to Dean Flanagan and Berkeley for the honor. I’m grateful to be a part of the conversation to increase diversity and representation at Berkeley at all levels. Who else to lead the charge for change than UC Berkeley? I’m also humbled and in awe to be in the company of my fellow awardees. I look forward to the continued work it will take to make it a reality. Thank you again, and GO BEARS!”
Dr. Cristen Adams, Class of 2016
“I am deeply honored and grateful to stand beside my colleagues and sisters, Drs. Joy Harewood, Sheryl Guillory-Reeves, and Farah Gulaid, as we accept the 2020 Michael G. Harris Service Award. I believe that voices are our most powerful tool, and the discovery of ones’ voice is truly an awakening worth celebrating. I commend Berkeley Optometry for opening itself up to conversation surrounding race and diversity. I challenge its leaders to continue to be diligent in listening to the voices of those within its walls, and I implore them to act upon what they have heard in order to better serve the Berkeley community. Cheers to getting stronger by breaking away the pieces that are hindering growth.”