August 27, 2021

Robert Reaves nets Dave Bing Young Leader Award for volunteer work in Detroit

Robert Reaves has a life mission to make a mark on the world through his charitable work and showing compassion for others. Reaves, Wayne State University School of Medicine’s director of Accreditation, is devoted to serving the community, especially those in need.

“This is needed more today than any other point in our lifetimes,” he said.

His current philanthropy work focuses on providing underprivileged youth with access to cultural arts, scholarships to college students and housing to families with sick children at local hospitals.

For those efforts, Reaves will receive the Dave Bing Young Leader Award at the Shining Light Regional Cooperation Awards, to be held virtually in October. The awards recognize regional leadership, and are presented by the Detroit Free Press and the Metropolitan Affairs Coalition.

The Detroit Free Press published a feature article on Reaves on Aug. 25.

“Words cannot express my gratitude. I am very grateful for the recognition by the Detroit Free Press and Metropolitan Affairs Coalition,” he said. “More so, I am very appreciative to the non-profit organizations that have allowed me to contribute in meaningful ways over the years. This award is truly a reflection of the great work that we have accomplished together.”

Reaves didn’t know Ronald McDonald House Charities Detroit Executive Director Jennifer Litomisky nominated him until he received a call notifying him that he’d won. His reaction to the news was one of “awe, especially since there are so many remarkable young professionals in the region who are also making an impact,” he said.

Reaves is board chair of strategic planning for the Ronald McDonald House Charities Detroit. He also is president of the WSU Alumni Association Board of Directors and an ambassador for the Michigan Opera Theatre. He graduated from Wayne State with a bachelor’s degree in public relations in 2011 and a master’s of business administration degree in 2015. He is pursuing a master’s in Public Administration now, and expects to graduate in 2023.

“Robert Reaves is one of the most dedicated, committed and motivated volunteers I have seen in my 36-year history of nonprofit management,” Litomisky said in her nomination letter.

“We are embarking on the development of a diversity and inclusion task force, where Robert will play an important role in guiding the team to many positive outcomes,” she added. “As always, Robert is the first to raise his hand and make a commitment to serving on the task force, to lend his expertise and assist the organization in all future planning on this team and many others. His commitment is unwavering.”

He joined the School of Medicine in 2016, and is equally enthusiastic about his career here.

“The Wayne State University School of Medicine community, including our students, faculty, staff and clinical partners, is what keeps me passionate about the mission of the school. We all play a role in producing high-quality physician leaders who are prepared to achieve health and wellness for our society – in Detroit and beyond,” he said. “I have the privilege of working with so many incredible people who are passionate about the School of Medicine. I’m so grateful for their perspectives as we continue to move the school forward. I am excited and proud to support the dean’s vision for the school, one that will ensure growth, sustainability and a healthy future for the school.”

All are invited to attend the 8 a.m. Oct. 7 virtual award ceremony that will also honor former Detroit Chief of Police Isaiah “Ike” McKinnon, Ph.D., and Beaumont Health Family Medicine physician Asha Shajahan, M.D. There is no charge, but registration is required at

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