|The Lighten Leadership Awards will be presented May 31|
The Janifer Lighten Leadership Awards, established to honor the legacy and community service of Janifer Lynn Lighten '83, will be presented at a special luncheon Saturday, May 31 at the Wykagyl Country Club in New Rochelle. The event has been organized by the Boys & Girls Club of New Rochelle.
Lighten, a New Rochelle resident who died of cancer in Feb., 2012, served on the board of the YWAA and was the national president of the Yale Black Alumni Association. She was married to Bill Lighten '86 and the mother of four children, three of whom have attended Yale.
The awards will recognize college-bound students from under-represented communities who, according to the mission statement, "demonstrate excellence in their scholastic achievement, along with leadership in their community and athletic pursuits."
Lighten served on the boards of the Boys & Girls Clubs of New Rochelle and the New Rochelle Public Library. She was on the executive board of the Horace Mann School, where her children attended school. Lighten was also involved in Jack & Jill of America, the Links, Inc., and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
At the AYA Assembly in New Haven, Nov., 2011, Lighten and the Yale Black Alumni Association were cited for service to Yale and communities across the nation. A section of Yale's Afro-American Cultural Center is named in honor of Janifer and Bill Lighten.
After Yale, Lighten received an MBA from Columbia and worked briefly in corporate banking at the Royal Bank of Canada in New York. She was a former board member of the New Rochelle Overall Economic Development Corp. and a co-founder of the Grace Innovation Ministry, an investment fund managed at Grace Baptist Church in Mt. Vernon.
In 2010, she received the Community Champion Award by the White Plains YMCA and was honored with a resolution by the New York State legislature for outstanding service.
An award in her name, sponsored by the Afro-American Cultural Center, is given each spring to an outstanding Yale senior. Last year, Yale announced a special contribution made by Bill Lighten in Janifer's memory. A new theater in one of the new residential colleges under construction on campus will be named in her honor.
Her husband Bill Lighten and their daughters Adrienne and Alexis (also Yale graduates) are honorary Chairs of the awards program in New Rochelle. For information about tickets for the luncheon, contact Rudy Breedy at firstname.lastname@example.org.