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The Dr. Thomas Gaither Award for Excellence

During the celebration of Black History Month, the Frederick Douglass Institute announced a new award created in the name of long-time MSA member Dr. Thomas Gaither. The Gaither Award for Excellence will be given to a student who best exemplifies the qualities of activism and leadership in social justice.

Thomas Gaither is professor emeritus of Biology at Slippery Rock University, where he taught for 38 years. His work with the Civil Rights Movement as an original Freedom Rider has been recognized broadly. He was one of the “Friendship 9” convicted in 1961 as a result of a lunchroom civil-rights sit-in in Rock Hill, SC. He spent 30 days at hard labor as a result of the conviction.

Donations to the Gaither Award for Excellence can be made at: