Kappa Alpha Psi presents first inaugural Dr. Clinton Bristow Jr. Awards to Black students


Miles French/The Daily Northwestern

The Theta Alumni Association of Northwestern’s chapter of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity gave the Bristow Award to recipients (from left to right): Cody Murray-Bruce, Shira Nash and Wallace Greene. This is the first year the organization has issued the honor.

Miles French, Reporter

An alumni association of Northwestern’s historically Black fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi, recognized three Black students for their commitment to excellence in academics and community service Friday. 

The Dr. Clinton Bristow Jr. Award, distributed by the Theta Alumni Association, grants each recipient $1,917, a number chosen to reflect the year NU’s chapter of KAPsi was founded. 

Weinberg junior Shira Nash, one of the award’s recipients, said being recognized for her achievements alongside other Black student leaders was inspiring. She said she tries to live by the values of “being revolutionary, breaking boundaries, and making waves.” 

“Everything that I do is kind of centered around empowering and uplifting Black people,” Nash said. “It was amazing to see other students that had similar missions as mine.” 

Clinton Bristow Jr. (SESP ’71, ’74, ’77), the award’s namesake, was a KAPsi member who dedicated his life to education and battling inequality. During his time at NU, Bristow participated in several protests led by Black students, including the 1968 Bursar’s Office Takeover. Later, he served as the president of the Chicago Board of Education and as president of Alcorn State University — a role he held until his death in 2006.

SESP senior Wallace Greene, another recipient, said he felt honored that the scholarship committee recognized his “hard work, resilience and perseverance.”

The Theta Alumni Association founded the award in an effort to honor Bristow’s legacy and support Black undergraduates at NU by recognizing their merit. All applicants were required to have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA and active involvement in an NU community service student organization.

The award was originally established in 2019, but was not issued until this year due to pandemic-related delays. From now on, it will be an annual tradition, issued to three undergraduates at the beginning of every academic year. 

Communication junior Cody Murray-Bruce, the award’s third recipient, said he appreciates how the honor uplifts and celebrates Black students.

“It’s really important that we have things like this for Black students…the ability to celebrate Black students on campus from a standpoint of academic achievement and community engagement on campus,” Murray-Bruce said. 

All three award recipients gave their thanks to KAPsi for creating a tradition that increases Black representation and visibility at NU.

Awards Committee Chairman Robert B. Dixon (Weinberg ‘94) said he hopes the award will strengthen the Black community on campus. He said he hopes the award will show Black students that “they are seen and acknowledged for their work.” 

Dixon said his hope is that the award, along with Dr. Bristow’s story, will encourage students to “keep fighting and persevering in their studies and in their own dreams of fighting social injustice.”

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