Campus News

Second annual Diversity Days celebration kicks off Sept. 8

The Office of Institutional Diversity will hold its second annual Embracing Diversity celebration, an institution-wide series of events to highlight the connections among all members of the university community.

This year’s theme, “Embracing Diversity: Planting the Seed,” reflects the OID’s goal of nurturing inclusion in every campus department and moving beyond race and gender, according to Cheryl Dozier, associate provost and chief diversity officer.

“Last year we recognized that there was a need for us to set the tone of campus-wide events,” Dozier said. “There have always been individual events within colleges and departments, but we wanted something to say that, from an institutional perspective, this is important. We feel that we want every unit on campus to begin to plant the seed and start recognizing that diversity is everybody’s business.”

The observance begins as the university admitted the most diverse class in its history, with 21 percent of its new freshman class self-identifying as other than Caucasian.

The program begins with a kickoff celebration at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 8 in the Chapel. The event includes the inaugural Embracing Diversity Awards, which recognize accomplishments of individuals, groups and teams who contribute to inclusion and diversity, as well as the awarding of the Black Alumni and Diversity scholarships.

It also features speakers from across campus and the community. Dawn Bennett-Alexander, associate professor of employment, law and legal studies, will deliver the “Embracing Diversity” address; Maritza Soto Keen, director of the Latino Initiative, will deliver “A Salute to Hispanic Heritage Month,” and Cortez Wright of Lambda Alliance will speak on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month.

“We also are excited to have Damon Evans, director of athletics, who is a key supporter of diversity initiatives, speak and present the Diversity Scholarships,” said Mimi Sodhi, assistant provost at OID.

Other events held in conjunction with Diversity Days include the Black Faculty and Staff Organization’s scholarship luncheon Sept. 9, and “Living as Diverse People of Justice in a Time of Religious Intolerance,” a seminar sponsored by the College of Education Dean’s Council on Diversity on Sept. 10. A complete list of events is available online at