UWF in the Community

UWF honors local trailblazers at annual awards

In honor of Black History Month, the University of West Florida Office of Equity and Diversity and Epps Christian Center recently partnered to award nine community members who inspire and empower the Pensacola area. The third annual Trailblazer Awards luncheon was hosted at the Museum of Commerce in downtown Pensacola on Feb. 20.

UWF honors local community members at the third annual Trailblazer Awards luncheon hosted at the Museum of Commerce on Feb. 20, 2019

“The whole idea of the Trailblazer Awards is recognizing those community members who have made a lasting impact on the community,” said Dr. Kim LeDuff, UWF chief diversity officer and vice president for the Division of Academic Engagement. “All of the award winners have served segments of our community that often go unnoticed.”

After three successful years, the committee has recognized numerous members of the community and  has awarded 27 recipients to date.

“I appreciate the continued partnership between Epps Christian Center and the University of West Florida” said the Rev. Sylvia Tisdale, founder of the Epps Christian Center, who worked with UWF on the event. “My heart was overwhelmed with joy as I watched the honorees step from behind the scenes and have their moment in the spotlight.”

The following people were named recipients of the Trailblazer Awards:

  • Paula Doty and Linda Scott, Helping Hand Award
  • Willie Demps Sr., Faith and Service Award
  • Priscilla Sapp, Community Service Award
  • Dr. Angela McCorvey, Educational Leadership Award
  • Georgia Blackmon, Servant Leader Award
  • Rodney Jones, Community Voice Award
  • James Edward Smith, UWF Alumni Trailblazer Award
  • Aaron Watson, Trailblazer Award

Watson, a personal injury lawyer and owner of The Watson Firm, PLLC, was honored with the signature Trailblazer Award. The award committee selected Watson for his impact on the community through his involvement with several civic and community organizations, mentoring relationships and leadership roles.

“The Trailblazer Award simply confirms what I always knew—if you come back, your community will appreciate it. Rev. Tisdale and UWF have seen what we’re doing in the community—giving back, working hard and showing our future leaders that they can do it too.”

For more information about UWF’s Office of Equity and Diversity, visit uwf.edu/respect.