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MLK Award Named For Hugo Owens, Presented to Rev. Paige at Annual MLK Event

At Old Dominion University's annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Lecture Jan. 22, Acting President John R. Broderick renamed the annual award presented at the event in honor of the late Hugo A. Owens and made the inaugural presentation to the Rev. Anthony Paige.

The Hugo Owens Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Award will be given annually at the MLK event to an outstanding individual or organization that has made considerable contributions to civil rights, politics, housing and social programs through leadership, dedication and persistence over a period of time.

Owens, who passed away last July, was known for being a tireless lobbyist for the university. He served on the University's Board of Visitors from 1990 to 1994 and was the board's first African American rector. In 1996, the university named its African-American Cultural Center in his honor. He was named the first honorary member of the Coalition of Black Faculty and Administrators and was the recipient of the university's eighth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Award.

During his lifetime, Owens was a leader in the civil rights movement and a community leader. He initiated a lawsuit against the City of Portsmouth to win the right to use the city park and golf courses; helped win a lawsuit to desegregate the city's libraries; and was part of a group of doctors and dentists who desegregated Portsmouth General Hospital. Owens also served as president of the Portsmouth branch of the NAACP and brought federal attention to job discrimination at local naval installations.

By profession, Owens was a dentist. His practice enabled him to serve as a mentor to several talented, young dentists who aspired to launch their own practices. He also served as president of the National Dental Association, as well as a member of Virginia's Tidewater Dental Association.

Also a supporter of Old Dominion, Rev. Paige served on the University's Board of Visitors from 1995 to 2003, including a term as Secretary. He currently serves as a co-chair of the university's security task force, which works to assess and recommend campus and neighborhood security measures as well as promote safety and security awareness in the city of Norfolk.

He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and served on the Board of Directors of the William A. Hunton YMCA, the Norfolk City Planning Commission, the Board of Trustees of Virginia Seminar and College, and as Secretary of the Virginia Baptist State Convention.

Reverend Paige is an advocate for the Lamberts Point community and serves as the senior pastor at the First Baptist Church of Lamberts Point.

This article was posted on: January 23, 2009

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Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.