On St. Patrick’s Day, the University saw just how lucky it was at a reception celebrating the 2015 Diversity Champions.More than 330 faculty, staff and students were recognized in the 2014 Campus Climate Survey as Diversity Champions for embracing diversity well at UT.
A reception was held last week to celebrate and thank the champions for their work on campus. The event was sponsored by the Culture Ambassadors as part of an initiative to recognize and thank individuals for helping create a welcoming environment at the University.
Interim President Nagi Naganathan, Vice President of External Affairs Lawrence J. Burns, and Interim Provost John Barrett addressed the crowd, speaking on the importance of diversity and a welcoming culture, and thanked the champions for their efforts.
Naganathan welcomed the attendees and said, “You are doing the right things, not in desperate moments, but just doing the right things every day.”
Barrett spoke about promoting diversity and how it creates opportunities, mentors, role models and better citizens: “To me, the most important thing that diversity does is it makes all of us better.”
The event also honored eight individuals, four faculty/staff and four students, as Diversity Award Winners. These individuals were recognized in the Campus Climate Survey results multiple times for their efforts for diversity.
“In our environment, we are really trying to embrace diversity and our differences to learn from one another. Six years ago, we came up with the concept of creating the Culture Ambassadors to do just that, to come up with events and activities that tell the story about our differences to understand each other better,” Burns said.
“Diversity is a UT core value and this inaugural event celebrates the hard work of the UT community members,” said Dr. Shanda Gore, associate vice president for equity, diversity and community engagement, and chief diversity officer, who recently was in Washington, D.C., accepting the 2014 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine on behalf of the University. “UT has once again been recognized nationally for diversity-related initiatives that are directly impacting the lives of our UT students, faculty and staff, and surrounding community. Our office and the Culture Ambassadors look forward to continuing this event and recognition of future champions.”
To see a complete listing of the award winners and champions, visit the Culture Ambassadors webpage here.
The Culture Ambassadors are a group of faculty, staff and students on all the campuses who are passionate about creating a welcoming environment for everyone. The Culture Ambassadors are supported by the Office of Equity, Diversity and Community Engagement. The group meets monthly and is always looking for new members. For more information, call 419.530.5538.