Mike Robertson saw a need for honoring kindness as part of a university education.
“You see awards for literacy, for athletics, for acting, but they don’t have awards for kindness,” said Robertson. He decided to change that by establishing the “Love Kindness” award, given to a School of Education student who exemplifies how to treat others and build a better community.
Established in the fall of 2017, the first award of $1,000 went to Jacarrie Carr, a graduate student in cultural foundations of education. Carr established a shoe drive for children four years ago when he was a junior. In addition to running and expanding a nonprofit organization, Jacarrie’s Kicks for Kids, Carr has organized other fundraisers, a toy drive for children and efforts to raise awareness of issues like breast cancer.
Robertson, is an ordained minister, and was a minister of community outreach at Community Baptist Church in Milwaukee. He is married to Emily Robertson, a UWM alumna, and both have become active supporters of the university and the School of Education since moving into the UWM neighborhood several years ago.
The name “Love Kindness” comes from a passage in the Bible’s Book of Micah, Robertson said, which advises that what the Lord requires of people is to “do justice, love kindness and walk humbly.”
“At the end of your life, when people speak about you at a memorial service, they will be talking about how you treated others,” said Robertson.
He sees the award, which he said he and Emily plan to make at least annually, as a positive approach to offset the need for anti-bullying campaigns. “Those are all well and good, but developing kindness is also an important part of education.” He established a similar award at Piedmont College in Georgia 10 years ago.
Carr, who plans to graduate in May 2018, said he was amazed and grateful to receive the first award. His eventual goal is to establish a center to help young people, and continue to help improve the community.
As he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel a year ago: “I don’t want to just help others once in a while and then I’m gone.”
“The committee knew right away that Jacarrie was the perfect choice for this award,” said Rob Longwell-Grice, recruitment and scholarship coordinator for the School of Education. “His selfless behavior towards others in the community is commendable and deserving of recognition. There is no doubt Jacarrie will be doing great things when he graduates from UWM.”