Staff, faculty awarded for commitment to diversity

Ana Mihajlovic

The university honored faculty and staff leaders for their commitment to diversity at its 17th annual Diversity Scholarship Benefit Luncheon Saturday in the Student Center Ballroom.

The award ceremony was one of the programs and initiatives held year round to promote multi-culturalism.

Students, faculty and staff gathered to celebrate the university’s accomplishments and continuing commitment to an academic environment that embraces different cultures and perspectives. The luncheon served as a fund-raiser to support scholarships for minority students. The university successfully received numerous donations, ranging from $250 to $10,000.

During the ceremony, awards were presented to a faculty member, staff member and an academic unit of the university.

This year three new diversity leadership awards were created to honor faculty who exemplify their diversity dedication by promoting academic excellence for all students. The three new awards are Diversity Leadership Faculty Award, Diversity Leadership Staff Awards and Diversity Leadership Award for an Academic Service or Unit.

“I have always considered this event to be one of the most important ones on the annual calendar,” said President Carol Cartwright in the opening address. “These awards recognize personal efforts, unique contributions and forward thinking initiatives.”

This year’s award recipients included William M. Casterlow, Diversity Leadership Staff Award; Joanne Kilgour Dowdy, Diversity Leadership Faculty Award; School of Theater and Dance, Diversity Leadership Award for an Academic Service or Unit; and Iris J. Meltzer, President’s Social Responsibility Award.

Dowdy, associate professor of teaching, leadership and curriculum studies, said winning the award gives her more hope of changing the community. Dowdy helped develop two courses, “Black Women and Literacy” and “Literacy Stories/Video Writing.” She also developed peer mentoring relationships with underrepresented students, and she continues to regularly publish with her graduate students.

“Winning this award shows me that students and faculty value my hard work and dedication,” Dowdy said. “Respecting, understanding and embracing the differences in others may be the best way to achieve academic success.”

Casterlow, Stark campus admissions counselor and diversity leadership staff award winner, agreed. He helped raise the Stark campus minority student population from 7 percent to 8 percent of its total population.

Diverse and committed staff and faculty are key to attracting students who will excel academically and become future leaders in their communities.

Contact international affairs reporter Ana Mihajlovic at [email protected].