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Nominations Sought for New Diversity Award

Contact: Kathy Johnson

Photo of John Harris
John Harris

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“At no time in history has the issue of institutional diversity demanded greater attention and consciousness at the center stage in the preparation of educators and professionals for the Commonwealth of Kentucky as well as the United Sates. In fact, ever present are vivid reminders of the need for greater understanding of the role the University of Kentucky, as the state’s flagship land-grant institution, plays in this process and the expectations on its leadership."

-- John Harris
acting director of the President's Commission on Diversity

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July 28, 2003 (Lexington, Ky.) -- The University of Kentucky has established a new award recognizing individual and organizational efforts to support and promote diversity within the university.

The President’s Commission on Diversity (PCD) has outlined the parameters and criteria for the new President’s Award for Diversity and has issued a call for nominations. The deadline for nominations is Sept. 2 and UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. will make the award presentation on Sept. 29. Winners will receive a plaque and $500.

“It is past time to honor and show our appreciation for those who work and dedicate themselves to diversifying this campus and creating a greater understanding among the many diverse groups that exist at UK,” Todd said.

In keeping with the spirit of the president’s directive, John Harris, acting director of the PCD, said the impetus for this award is grounded in the contemporary significance of diversity in its many contexts. “Excellence does not exist in the absence of diversity,” he said.

Harris also noted the Commission’s words in the description of the new award: “At no time in history has the issue of institutional diversity demanded greater attention and consciousness at the center stage in the preparation of educators and professionals for the Commonwealth of Kentucky as well as the United Sates. In fact, ever present are vivid reminders of the need for greater understanding of the role the University of Kentucky, as the state’s flagship land-grant institution, plays in this process and the expectations on its leadership. If Kentucky and this nation are to prosper through the efforts of all its citizenry, then all citizens must realize, understand, and embrace diversity.”

Nominations can be made in four categories: 1) UK administrator or faculty member; 2) UK staff member; 3) UK student; 4) a Kentucky agency, company, organization or individual (non-student or employee) who has assisted the university in diversity efforts.

Nominees must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Excellence, through research, teaching or service in the advancement of the basic principles and mandates of diversity at the University of Kentucky.
  • Best practices in an aspect of diversity which promotes UK in this arena.
  • A pattern of excellence relating to diversity issues in the workplace and in the university community that contributes substantially to the advancement of diversity at the university.

“It is not only important for the University of Kentucky to reward people and groups for their work in diversity, it also is important for the university to make certain that diversity is a concept that is constantly recognized in its definition and pursuit of academic excellence,” UK Provost Michael T. Nietzel said.

Todd said he created the President’s Commission on Diversity to emphasize and elevate the need for creating a more diverse campus, which by design recognizes the benefits of embracing and nurturing the unique contributions of the larger university community.

“For UK to become a top-20 university, we must appreciate and teach our students to appreciate a diverse environment,” he said.

Nomination packets should include a letter of nomination, resume and supporting materials such as letters of recommendation or other pertinent information which will be reviewed by a committee appointed by Harris. Nominations can be submitted to Dr. John Harris III by e-mail at PCD@uky.edu or by mail at the Office of the President, President’s Commission on Diversity, University of Kentucky, Room 2, Gillis Building, Lexington, KY 40506-0033.

For more information about the President’s Award for Diversity and its nomination guidelines, call the PCD office at (859) 257-3493 or visit the PCD Web site.


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