“If anybody has been embraced by the University of Georgia, it’s been me,” said Dr. Paige Carmichael, professor of veterinary pathology and keynote speaker at this year’s Embracing Diversity event, held Sept. 6 at the Chapel. “I want to thank this university for not only meeting the challenge of not just tolerating or accepting but truly embracing diversity.”
The Embracing Diversity program celebrates the value of diversity and inclusion, recognizes employees who completed requirements for the voluntary Certificate in Diversity and Inclusion and presents scholarships to outstanding students.
Carmichael pointed out that diversity might not have a standard definition, but there are three levels to it. The first is demographics, or the area “that people think most about when they think of diversity and the one that academics are the most comfortable with because it can be measured,” she said.
The second is diversity of experience, or the differences in backgrounds that shape a person’s emotional universe. This includes “the things and the people that make us and give us our identity,” she said.
The third, according to Carmichael, is the understanding of why it’s important to embrace diversity. “It’s not our differences that divide us. It’s our inability to recognize, embrace and celebrate those differences,” she said. “We are strengthened by our diversity.”
UGA President Jere W. Morehead echoed the value of appreciating diversity.
“This university, as America’s first state-chartered university, is a place where all of our experiences should be valued and celebrated,” Morehead said. “It’s a place where the expression that each of you has should be nourished and supported. It’s a place where each and every one of us plays a role, however small or large, in ensuring that we take positive steps forward that will benefit not only this community, but our society in general.”
Michelle Cook, vice provost for diversity and inclusion and strategic university initiatives, also spoke about the importance of diversity to the campus community.
“Today, as we join together as a campus community, we affirm that diversity and inclusion are shared values at the University of Georgia,” she said. “The power of diverse experiences, backgrounds, cultures and perspectives is evident in how we each contribute to the intellectual and educational enterprise at UGA.”
Two scholarships are awarded as part of Embracing Diversity. The Black Alumni Association Scholarships, sponsored by the Alumni Association, were awarded to first-year students Afokeoghene Egberi, Camille Jones, Alyssa Nesmith and Clarence Ogbuefi. Diversity Scholarships, sponsored by the UGA Athletic Association, were awarded to first-year students Brianna Henderson and C’ayanam Obiekwe.
Nearly 70 UGA employees were recognized for earning the UGA Diversity and Inclusion Certificate, presented to UGA employees who voluntarily completed six courses covering a variety of diversity-related areas. 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.
The 2018 certificate recipients are Laura Ackerley, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences; Dana Barnhart, College of Education; Mona Behl, Public Service and Outreach; Amy Bellamy, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; Paige Betts, College of Education; Sammy Cofer, Student Affairs; Clare Cooley, Development & Alumni Relations; Jessica Couch, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences; Subrina Dake, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences; Gwynne Darden, Finance & Administration; Matthew Deason, Student Affairs; Sarah Deitsch, Office of Instruction; David Dodson, Terry College of Business; Caitlin Dye, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; Teresa Edwards, Student Affairs; Olivia Engesser, Development & Alumni Relations; Megan Flora, Development & Alumni Relations; Tamala Foreman, Finance & Administration; Scott Gabriel, Student Affairs; Julie Grainy, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences; Amanda Hales, Student Affairs; Amy Heath, College of Education; Logan Herren, College of Education; Patrick Hood, Student Affairs; Cameron Jacob, Student Affairs; Krislyn Johnson, Development & Alumni Relations; David Jones, Development & Alumni Relations; Stacy Jones, Public Service and Outreach; Chioma Kas-Osoka, College of Public Health; Maja Klos-Gromadzka, Office of Instruction; Kristin Lawrence, Graduate School; Anna Lawrence, College of Family and Consumer Sciences; Benjamin Lawrence, University Libraries; Natalie Mann, Division of Marketing & Communications; Tanera Manuel, Development & Alumni Relations; Jean Martin-Williams, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences; Matthew McCauley, Student Affairs; Devin McLeod, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; Bryan McLucas, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences; Melissa Mitchell, Student Affairs; Kretta Mize, Office of Instruction; Mumbi Mwaura, School of Social Work; Ross Myers, Student Affairs; David Ornelas II, Development & Alumni Relations; Haley O’Steen, Terry College of Business; Daynes Parker, Development & Alumni Relations; Jared Peden, University Libraries; Melinda Pethel, College of Family and Consumer Sciences; Rose Phan, Office of Instruction; Michele Plogh, Office of Instruction; Kyle Poe, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences; Pam Rainwater, Information Technology; Suzanne Reichner, Student Affairs; Laura Rhicard, Georgia Museum of Art; Betty Rice, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; Sandra Riggs, University Libraries; Whitney Robinson, Office of Instruction; Nina Santus, College of Education; Alec Shepherd, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; Tiffany Smith, Student Affairs; Leslie Standridge, College of Pharmacy; Bernard Tant, Student Affairs; Nyerere Tryman, Student Affairs; Ashley Whitten, Student Affairs; Jana Wiggins, Public Service and Outreach; Jamie Wilkes, Student Affairs; Nikki Williams, College of Education; and Lindsay Worsham Dickerson, College of Education.