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Champions of Diversity

Introduced by the Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee in 2015, the Champions of Diversity honor recognizes an individual for their work in supporting ethnic minorities and other underrepresented populations in athletics. These individuals display a commitment to advocating and advancing others that goes beyond their profession.

Dr. Myles Brand

“And along with academic accountability and managing the growth of college sports, Brand had a message that was new to many of the attendees: College sports can be a cultural game changer in the United States, paving the way for a society that embraces diversity and includes various voices in its leadership.”

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Dr. Bernard Franklin

“Dr. Franklin was a stalwart with the ability to connect with diverse audiences in order to discuss issues of difference in a compelling, honest and pointed way. The legacy Dr. Franklin left will certainly outlast his tenure with the Association, and MOIC will strive every day to build upon the foundation he has built.”

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Richard Lapchick

“Richard’s long-standing impact through his courageous personal story and philosophy, his historical stance against apartheid and much more shows his dedication to diversity and inclusion in college sports. We hope that sharing his successes will encourage others to follow his model.”

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Kevin White

“His long history of positioning ethnic minorities and women for the athletics director chair speaks volumes of his commitment long before others were willing to address it. The committee was very impressed with what Kevin has been doing and looks forward to future ADs through his pipeline.”

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Joe Castiglione

“He has remained committed to his core values and prioritized the advancement of diversity and inclusion within the athletics department and campus community. I am fortunate to have worked for such a great man and leader.”

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Betsy Alden

In 1999, Alden founded Alden & Associates, which remains the only woman-owned executive search and consulting firm in intercollegiate athletics. Alden strives to assure ethnic minorities gain proper opportunities in the upper echelons of college sports, and the committee acknowledged that important work in its recognition.

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Patti Phillips

“She is a dynamic leader who is making a significant difference in serving as a resource for women of color. Women of color have always held considerable roles in athletics administration, so I am so appreciative that Patti is willing to be on the forefront in creating leadership programs specifically for this demographic group who work in athletics.”

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Dan Jones and Ross Bjork

The first individuals whose work will be highlighted by the program are both from the University of Mississippi: Dr. Daniel W. Jones, the chancellor at the University of Mississippi, and Ross Bjork, the director of athletics. Both men worked as part of the university’s efforts to modernize and add historical context to cultural symbols on the Mississippi campus.

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Submit a Nomination for a Champion of Diversity here.