The following is a republished press release and NOT written by the Ithaca Voice … click here to submit community announcements directly to The Voice, or contact us at

ITHACA, N.Y. — The Leon Lawrence Scholarship Committee will host a gala on Friday, October 27, from 6-10pm at the Space at Greenstar,700 West Buffalo Street, Ithaca. The fund raising event will feature dancing, entertainment, and a silent auction.

A circle of community leaders is working diligently to host this fund raising event to honor the late Leon Lawrence, a beloved Ithaca activist and civic leader.

He came to Cornell in 2001 as the director of multicultural affairs in Architecture Art and Planning (AAP). He directed the college’s Office for Diversity and Inclusiveness, and mentored students of color for eight years. He left AAP in 2009 and became the associate director of Cornell’s Office of Minority Educational Affairs and the director of State Programs Office.

Lawrence also served as staff advisor to the National Organization of Minority Architect Students’ Cornell chapter, was a division deputy for the Cornell United Way Campaign, and served on the Employee Assembly for several years and was its chair in 2009–10. He was a coleader on the pilot of Scholars Working Ambitiously to Graduate, a peer-mentoring group for young black men. He retired from Cornell in 2011.

He was a longtime volunteer with the Tompkins County Office of Human Rights and former chair of Tompkins County Human Rights Commission. At the time of his passing he was Executive Director of Ithaca’s Southside Community Center. Leon Lawrence was one of the county’s most well-known and highly regarded advocates for racial justice and equality.

A coterie of organizers is creating a scholarship in Lawrence’s name. While details of the scholarship are being finalized, the award will honor the qualities of perseverance and civic-mindedness that Lawrence instilled in his many mentees over the years.

To purchase electronic tickets visit this link: or for printed tickets direct your inquiry to Jamila Walida Simon at .

For our Event Page, please visit Facebook:

We have partnered with the Community Foundation of Tompkins County; 200 E. Buffalo Street, Ithaca, NY 14850. To donate to the fund directly please use the GiveGab link below and follow the directions that follow.

Please donate online at

Featured photo provided

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.