Yaida Oni Ford '02
B.A., Political Science and Spanish; Vancouver, Wash.
Yaida Oni Ford, daughter of Linda Ford and Earl Ford of Vancouver, Wash., was among six graduating Denison University seniors who were honored by President Dale T. Knobel as this year's "President's Medalists" during the University's annual Academic Awards Convocation on April 19.
Ford, who has a double major in political science and Spanish, was inducted into Sigma Delta Pi (the national Spanish honorary), Pi Sigma Alpha (the national political science honorary), Omicron Delta Kappa (the international leadership honorary) and Phi Society (an honorary recognizing excellence in the first year). A consistent dean's list student and member of the Honors Program, she was named to Who's Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities. She held a Florida Fisher scholarship and was named a fellow in the political science department. Ford also was given a Young Scholar award to pursue research with a faculty member during the summer. Her honors project title was "Beyond the Battlefield: Dred Scott's Fight for Freedom."
Ford served as president of the Denison Lecture Series, a student-run group that brings speakers to campus, and also served as chief minister of the Black Student Union on campus. She was a member of the Campus Affairs Council and served as a student representative on the selection committee for the dean of first-year students. She also was a member of the June Orientation staff, a senior interviewer in the admissions office and frequently participated in the Students of Color orientation programs. Ford was a participant and choreographer for the Black History Month Dance Celebration and organized the NAACP Walkathon.
Ford is a graduate of Evergreen High School.
"Yaida, as a double major in political science and Spanish you have given new meaning to the phrase, 'claiming one's education.' The many Denison faculty who have nominated you for the president's medal use remarkably similar language in describing their impressions of you: 'ambition,' 'drive,' 'tenacity,' 'a remarkable gift of expression, both in verbal and written forms,' 'excellence in the classroom combined with service to others.'
"One of your political science professors writes that at Denison you have blended 'remarkable social skills and verbal facility with maturity, a strong academic record, and a delightful sense of humor.' Your engagement with the college combines breadth with depth. What that means is that you not only have participated in a rich multiplicity of organizations at Denison, but you also have rapidly risen to positions of leadership in those organizations: Defense Minister and then Chief Minister of the Black Student Union; President of the Denison Lecture Series; Senior Interviewer for the admissions office; staff member for June Orientation; tireless organizer for the Martin Luther King Day celebration; major architect of the highly successful Black History Dance Celebration; member of the Campus Affairs Council and the Selection Committee for the Dean of First-Year Students.
"In the summer of 2001 you intensified your scholarly trajectory by receiving a Young Scholar award, the product of which was a cogent analysis of slavery, citizenship, and the politics of the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott decision.
"Yaida, it is absolutely clear to anybody who knows you that your accomplishments at Denison are but the tip of a mammoth iceberg that will buoy you up in achieving great success throughout your future. We are enormously proud of you and grateful for all you leave in your wake at the college."