The Division of Diversity and Inclusion paused on April 22nd to say “thank you” and to recognize RIT students, staff and faculty who work to build and maintain an inclusive culture on campus.
The 2021 Celebration of Excellence was held virtually this year. The DDI Vice-President and Associate Provost Award was presented to Dr. Howard Ward, associate vice president of Student Auxiliary Services.
Keith Jenkins, vice president and associate provost for Diversity and Inclusion provided some highlights of Ward’s 27 years at RIT, the past two decades spent in his most current role. Ward was also interim chief diversity officer from May 2009 to January 2010, chair of RIT’s Ethnic Faculty & Staff and AALANA Faculty Staff Committee for over twenty years and is a former chair of the Frederick Douglass Scholarship Award Committee.
This is the 5th year for the division’s Beacon Awards which highlights not only the work done within division programs but individual accomplishments as well.
This year’s Faculty Beacon Award recipient is Sarah Sarchet, Senior Lecturer, Department of Science and Mathematics, National Technical Institute for the Deaf.
The 2021 Staff Beacon Award recipient is Bridgitte Thomas, Senior Student Financial Services Counselor, Office of Student Financial Services.
Student Beacon Award honorees are:
Fatoumata Barry, 4th year Biomedical Sciences major, Ephraim Bostic, a 5th year Packaging Science major, Brennan Jackson, a U.S. military veteran and Web & Mobile Computing major, and Trinity McFadden, a 4th year Criminal Justice major.
The Celebration of Excellence program included three awards presented by the ALANA Collegiate Association (ACA), the Representative Student Organization for African, Latin, Asian, Native American students.
The Phoenix Award recipient is The Black Thought Collective. The ALANA Family Award was presented to the Organization of African Students and the Affiliate of the Year Award honoree for 2021 is the Asian Culture Society.
Two graduating seniors, both Destler/Johnson Rochester City Scholars, shared personal reflections of their time at RIT. Austin Goodenough, a Journalism major and Diamond Guy, in Biomedical Sciences also thanked RIT faculty, staff and fellow students who assisted them in their journey.
There was something new this year. All graduating students in 2020 and 2021, who took part in any division program, received a graduation “Division of Diversity and Inclusion” stole and corresponding program patch. Those gifts were handed out during a special “pick-up” day event on April 28th in the Fireside Lounge.