Over 100 people gathered in the Chapel Sept. 24 for the annual Embracing Diversity ceremony, which recognizes faculty and staff who recently graduated from the Diversity and Inclusion Certificate program.
The certificate program is a partnership of the Office of Institutional Diversity, the Training and Career Development Center and other diversity-related offices and programs at UGA.
“Including access is an important value at our university—so we need to embody it, we need to give voice to it and, on occasions like today, we need to take a breath and celebrate our diversity,” said Pamela Whitten, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, who gave opening remarks at the program.
UGA has an ongoing commitment to growing diversity in admissions, Whitten said, citing that minority enrollment has grown from 22 percent to 30 percent in the last decade.
Keynote speaker Han Park, a professor in UGA’s School of Public and International Affairs, spoke about the importance of incorporating and fostering peace. Peace, he said, is not the absence of war, but the existence of harmony.
“Diversity is a necessary condition for harmony, and without which, peace is impossible,” said Park, the founding director of UGA’s Center for the Study of Global Issues. “Each of us must transform ourselves so cultural diversity becomes part of our identity.”
Park, who will retire in December, championed UGA’s new experiential learning approach, which he said would enable students to expand and enrich harmonious experience and embrace diversity in and out of the classroom.
Diversity and inclusion certificates were awarded to 100 faculty and staff, who joined 233 previous graduates from the program. The certificate recognizes participants’ completion of six courses designed not only to explore strategic areas around diversity but also to improve their ability to contribute to the enhancement of the university’s welcoming and inclusive environment.
Enrollment in the certificate program is free to all faculty and staff and is offered quarterly throughout the year in partnership between the Office of Institutional Diversity and the Human Resources Training and Development Center.
The ceremony also recognized four first-year students—April Davis, Khadar Haroun, Jerel Harris and Chynna Moore—who were awarded the Black Alumni Association Scholarship and the Diversity Scholarship.
The 2015 certificate recipients included:
Jennifer Erickson Brown
April King Mosley
Patricia La Madrid