The Georgia Regents University Office of Diversity and Inclusion has earned the National Collegiate Athletic Association and Minority Opportunities Athletic Association’s 2014 Award for Diversity and Inclusion for its programming and inclusive initiatives. The award will be presented at the 2014 NCAA Convention in San Diego, Calif.
The annual award celebrates member schools or conferences that embrace diversity and inclusion and focuses on initiatives involving community service, professional development, hiring practices and/or programming activities.
“I am both humbled and exhilarated by this recognition,” said W. Kent Guion, vice president for diversity and inclusion, Georgia Regents University office of diversity and inclusion. “Our office strives for excellence, creativity and inclusiveness in all of our efforts and this prestigious award certainly challenges us to raise the bar even higher. I am grateful for the NCAA and the MOAA for promoting diversity and inclusion as a key priority and equally as thankful for all the supporters and champions who help contribute to our success.”
The Georgia Regents University Office of Diversity and Inclusion was recognized for its ongoing and collaborative campus initiatives, which included enhancing the relationship between the athletics department and the office of diversity and inclusion. The efforts have helped the university unify student-athletes, athletics staff and university officials, and work more cohesively on various projects that benefit audiences in both areas. Examples of their collaboration include programs sponsored by the ODI where international student-athletes have been invited to learn more about support resources, invitations of the ODI staff to speak at coaching retreats, and the school’s FRESH start freshman seminar.
There have also been university-wide programs hosted by ODI where students and staff have learned about a variety of cultures and how to be more inclusive in their personal and professional lives. The ODI has been involved in several initiatives that promote campus inclusion. It hosted health programs for the campus that reached broad audiences, along with launching initiatives to promote inclusivity of sexually and gender diverse student, faculty and staff called the GRU Safe Zone. In addition, the ODI directs The African American Male Initiative, which is a grant-funded project focused on retention, progression and graduation disparities of African American male students.
GRU’s office of diversity and inclusion has sponsored cultural monthly events celebrating Black History Month, Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, Hispanic Heritage Month and Diversity Awareness Month. Being involved in employee orientation sessions, department training and an annual Diversity and Inclusion Summit are additional efforts the office has spearheaded. It has also hosted diversity and inclusion training sessions around the country and in Canada.
“This year, the NCAA and MOAA honor the Georgia Regents University Office of Diversity and Inclusion for its commitment to diversity and its efforts to bring a variety of audiences closer together, including higher education, athletics, the student body, and its community,” said Bernard Franklin, NCAA executive vice president of membership & student-athlete affairs/chief inclusion officer. “Georgia Regents’ initiatives bring varying perspectives and voices to the table that help educate and open eyes to inclusion on its campus and in athletics, which may impact decisions and strategic direction.”
The NCAA and MOAA solicited nominations from their membership bases for the award. Individuals from MOAA, the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics and the NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee chose this year’s award recipient.
“MOAA is proud to recognize the GRU Office of Diversity and Inclusion as this year’s award recipient,” stated MOAA president Sharon Beverly, director of athletics and physical education at Vassar College. “Their efforts to foster an inclusive environment, particularly beyond just the athletics segment of their campus community, are truly admirable and set a phenomenal example for other institutions to emulate. Our Association applauds the innovative thinking of their leadership and looks forward to helping them carry the torch to increase awareness for diversity and inclusion initiatives.”
About the NCAA
The NCAA is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletic opportunities for more than 450,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities. Each year, more than 54,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA championships in Divisions I, II and III sports. Visit www.ncaa.org and www.ncaa.com for more details about the Association, its goals and members and corporate partnerships that help support programs for student-athletes.
MOAA, administered by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), promotes equitable employment opportunities for minorities in the athletics industry through the exchange of ideas, the creation of networking opportunities and the advocation of an increase in employment for minorities in athletics administration positions at all levels of the sports industry. The Association also promotes cultivating a sports environment that supports the values necessary to accept aspiring professionals from all walks of life. The Annual MOAA Symposium will be held June 8-9, 2014 at the World Center Marriott Resort in Orlando, Fla. For more information on MOAA, please visit www.moaaweb.com.