ITHACA, N.Y. –– Dr. Sean Eversley Bradwell, an assistant professor in the Department of Education at Ithaca College has made a career advocating and educating about the invaluable benefits of diversity and inclusion, equity in education and justice in the community and beyond.

On Wednesday, the City of Ithaca Common Council recognized Dr. Bradwell for his service, with the J. Diann Sams Annual African-American History Month Recognition Award. 

“What I appreciate is being given an award after J. Diann Sams,” Bradwell said. “I was young when I came to Ithaca and Diann was clear to set me on my path –– to let me know about how to fight for justice and how what you believe in may not be the most well-received but that shouldn’t stop you if it’s in the best interest of the community and especially young people.”

Dr. Bradwell began his education service in the Ithaca area as a director for the Kaplan Educational Centers in 1995 before joining the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) in 1996 as faculty member with the Lehman Alternative Community School. He served as a social studies teacher and assistant to the principal for Multicultural Affairs.

In 1997, Dr, Bradwell helped moderate the Tompkins County Search Conference on Racism and later, after obtaining his Ph.D. from Cornell University, Dr. Bradwell served as the Ithaca College director of the Center for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Social Change (IDEAS) and taught in Ithaca College’s Center for the Study of Culture, Race and Ethnicity (CSCRE), before becoming an assistant professor in the Department of Education. Dr. Bradwell is also a faculty associate for Ithaca’s Martin Luther King Scholars Program.

Since 2004, the award has recognized an individual in our community, “who advocates for social justice and change, racial equity, and fairness in the judicial and educational systems while also demonstrating a willingness to speak out publicly on behalf of the aforementioned objectives.”

The first award was given out to the late Alderperson J. Diann Sams, who was a heralded civil rights leader, longtime public servant, the first African American woman to serve on Ithaca’s Common Council, the first African American to serve as the city’s acting mayor, and the city’s second African American to serve on the Ithaca City School District Board of Education. The award was given to Sams following her retirement from public service after more than a decade.

Common Council renamed this annual recognition posthumously in 2007 in honor of Alderperson Sams for her tireless efforts on behalf of people of color, the underrepresented, and other marginalized populations in and around Ithaca.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at