Dexter Gordon Receives Tacoma’s MLK Community Service Award

December 14, 2017

The City of Tacoma will present the lifetime service award at an 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 15 ceremony

TACOMA, Wash. – The City of Tacoma’s Events and Recognition Committee has named Dexter Gordon, director of the Race & Pedagogy Institute at University of Puget Sound, as the 2018 recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award.

 Gordon is a published author, professor, and community advocate for social change. He co-founded and guides the Race & Pedagogy Institute, which has worked for more than a decade partnering Puget Sound’s academic resources with local community knowledge and experience in the pursuit of a more aware, equitable, and just society.

The city said in its announcement that Gordon, professor of communication studies and African American studies, demonstrates exemplary leadership that embodies the values of equity and inclusion, and for many years has promoted and advocated for a campus environment and city that embraces racial and cultural differences.

 “The committee is thrilled to present the service award to Dr. Dexter Gordon,” said Events and Recognition Committee Chair Erin Lee. “A former student of his said that taking his class was a life-changing experience. That testimonial and all of the other community comments about Dr. Gordon convinced us he truly embodies this year’s theme, ‘Be the Change.’”

The MLK lifetime service award is presented each year at the city’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration. It recognizes and encourages excellence in community service activities carried out by an individual, organization, or group whose efforts reflect the essence of King’s teachings. Tacoma’s City Events and Recognition Committee is comprised of local community leaders from a broad array of backgrounds and areas of expertise.

The celebration on Monday, Jan. 15, 2018, begins at 11 a.m., with doors opening at 10 a.m., in the Greater Tacoma Convention Center, at 1500 Commerce St. Attendees are encouraged to bring donations of nonperishable food items for the MLK Food Drive. The drive is especially in need of peanut butter and pop-top canned meat donations.

The Race and Pedagogy Institute and its Community Partners Forum aim to educate students and teachers at all levels to think critically about race, and to work toward transforming society and eliminating racism. It will hold its 2018 Race & Pedagogy National Conference on campus Sept. 27–29.

For more information about the celebration and the nomination process visit:, email, or call 253.573.2523.

Press photos of Dexter Gordon are available upon request.

Tweet this: #MLKDay lifetime award from @CItyofTacoma to Dexter Gordon @Lovmur director of @PSRacePedagogy @univpugetsound. So well deserved. #Tacoma

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