Michael Holcombe, a senior majoring in social work, from Mars Hill, NC, has received the Michael Emory Award from Mars Hill College.
Holcombe received the award in absentia during Mars Hill’s community service convocation on April 10. (He is currently studying abroad in Bologna, Italy.)
The Michael Emory Award is presented annually to an individual who demonstrates Christ-like compassion, loyalty and service to the economically, socially or emotionally oppressed and diligent pursuit of truth and justice even when such pursuit may be unpopular. The award is given in honor of “Big Mike” Emory, MHC class of ’94, whose life exemplified the criteria of the award. “Big Mike” was in seminary preparing for a life of ministry when a tragic accident led to his untimely death.
Holcombe was nominated for the award by MHC Retention Coordinator Lisa Wachtman, who noted that Michael’s work in the community has always been geared toward helping the oppressed. During three years of working at My Sister’s Place in Madison County, Holcombe worked to help survivors of domestic violence. On campus, he has not only promoted, but participated in awareness events on campus such as the Clothesline Project and Take Back the Night. He was also instrumental in planning and putting on the fundraising event “Dude Looks Like A Lady” in his junior year with all proceeds benefiting My Sister’s Place.
More recently, through his volunteer work with The Coalition for Southern Equality, Michael has worked on behalf of the LGBTQ community regarding civil rights. He assisted in bringing the Director of the organization to campus, along with an attorney, for a campus forum that was part of the LifeWorks Citizenship Series.
Finally, Wachtman pointed to Holcombe’s tireless efforts to get Safe Haven—an inclusive organization open to all students and faculty of Mars Hill College—as an officially recognized human rights student organization established at MHC.
“Michael created an opportunity for dialogue that has enriched MHC and the surrounding community… He truly embodies Christ-like compassion as he never let frustration or anger overtake him and as he continues to fight to give the voiceless a voice,” Wachtman said.
Mars Hill College is a private, liberal arts institution offering over 30 baccalaureate degrees and one graduate degree in elementary education. Founded in 1856 by Baptist families of the region, the campus is located just 20 minutes north of Asheville in the mountains of western North Carolina.www.mhc.edu 1-866-MHC-4-YOU.