Linda Smith Griffin, head of cataloging at the LSU Libraries, received the Nia Award at the African American Cultural Center’s (AACC) third annual Jazz Brunch and Awards Program on Saturday, February 21, 2015. The program is held during February to honor faculty and staff whose contributions to the Center and African American student life and experiences at LSU have contributed to the success of the cultural center.
Smith Griffin is an active mentor to African American students at LSU, both informally and as an official university faculty advisor to the Nu Psi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, one of the oldest Black Greek-lettered organizations for African American males. She is a member of the LSU Black Faculty and Staff Caucus, for which she has served two terms as president. In addition to her duties as head of cataloging, she is the Libraries’ selector for and liaison to the African and African American Studies (AAAS) Program. Smith Griffin was awarded the 2014 Anthony H. Benoit Mid-Career Award from the Louisiana Library Association and in 2010 was selected to participate in the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians. She has also received the Black Faculty and Staff Caucus Outstanding Dedicated Service Award, the University College Summer Scholars Distinguished Speaker Series Award, and the Black Student Union (BSU) Faculty Honors Award.
The AACC chose Smith Griffin for the Nia Award because of her dedication to remain closely connected to the AACC during her tenure at LSU by giving her time, talents, and heart to some of their largest and most highly anticipated programs, and because she “fully embodies the principle of Nia as she helps students, faculty and staff get connected to the AACC to continue to find their purpose.”
Translated from Swahili to mean purpose, the Nia award is given to someone who is dedicated to the development of others, works collectively to build community, and upholds the sacredness of tradition. One who embodies the principle of Nia encourages others to get in touch with their inner being and pushes them to their fullest life potential.