Thomas Warfield wins RIT Isaac L. Jordan Diversity Award

NTID professor, activist and artist recognized for campus and community involvement on behalf of peace and equity

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A. Sue Weisler

Thomas Warfield, 2009 Isaac L. Jordan Award Winner

Thomas Warfield, assistant professor at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, is named the 2009 Isaac L. Jordan Diversity Award winner. The award is given to an RIT faculty or staff member who has made a significant contribution to diversity efforts on campus and within the Rochester community.

Warfield teaches in the Creative and Cultural Arts Department at NTID and is director of the NTID Dance Ensemble. He has served as the past chairperson of the President’s Commission on Pluralism and Inclusion, a campus advocacy group. Warfield also is one of the founding members of the Intercollegiate AGORA, a networking group of diversity officers representing colleges in New York state.

“I am humbled to be among the nominees for this award and honored to be recognized,” says Warfield. He received the award at the opening ceremony of the Expressions of Diversity Conference, a weeklong series of workshops about diversity efforts at RIT. He was among 11 nominees for the award, all faculty and staff from the college who have led programs that serve under-represented populations on the campus. They were also recognized for community service and volunteerism in the greater Rochester area.

A founding member of PeaceArt, a local non-profit organization, Warfield combines his expertise in art, dance, music and education with the message of peace and understanding. He presents workshops and performances about diversity, inter-personal relationships, and humanity in schools, hospitals, community centers and correctional facilities.

He coordinates the local Education for Peace conference and ARTWalk Alive Festival, participates on the boards of Nazareth College Dance Festival, The Rochester Gay Men’s Chorus and AIDS Rochester.

“Recently, Thomas was given the Unsung Hero Award, an annual award presented by the mayor to a community member who works to improve the quality of life in Rochester,” says Howard Ward, who presented the Isaac L. Jordan statuette to Warfield. “He was, and still is, worthy of such recognition for his long time work as an educator, advocate, activist, community leader and artist.”

The award, established in 2002, is named after Isaac L. Jordan, the first chairperson of the President’s Commission on Pluralism and Inclusion. Jordan was recognized for his leadership and role in advancing pluralism among campus constituents.

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