Seven individuals and three groups/programs were recognized at the 23rd annual Commitment to Diversity Awards Ceremony, which featured Wynter Jackson ’03 as the keynote speaker. Jackson received her law degree from DePaul University College of Law in Chicago and works as an attorney for the City of Chicago as an assistant corporation counsel.
Chin-Yu Lin received the undergraduate student Legacy of Leadership Award. He is a member of the Taiwanese Student Association, for which he served as social coordinator. He has contributed to I-Fair and is a member of the Illinois State University Marketing chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma and Golden Key. Lin also volunteers at the Home Sweet Home Ministries and PATH.
Todd Leigh received the graduate student Legacy of Leadership Award. He is involved in student government, University Program Board, Profound Pioneers, Homecoming Court 2010 and is the founder of My Brotha’s Keeper. Leigh has participated in the Diversity Retreat, Breaking Down the Barriers retreat and the Black Student Leadership Conference, at which he won the oratorical scholarship contest.
Touré Reed received the Outstanding Faculty Award. He served as the mentor for the College Democrats and the Black Graduate Student Association and as chair of the Department of History’s Black History Month Committee, chair of the President’s Task Force on Diversity and Tolerance and is currently the chair of the Identity Editorial Board. Reed also has worked on reviving the African American Studies Program.
Grace Foote Johns received the Outstanding Staff Award. She serves on the board of the Expanding Your Horizons Conference, helps women and underrepresented groups in the physics field and is involved in the Women’s Mentoring Network, Boys and Girls Club and YWCA, for which she earned the Wings Award for mentoring.
Bryan Rossi received the Outstanding Organization Member Award. He is the secretary of Diversity Affairs in Student Government and the former president of Pride, for which he expanded the focus to include all issues facing diverse populations at Illinois State University.
F.L.A.M.E. received the Outstanding Registered Student Organization Award. The group is involved in social justice issues and have excelled at membership development, philanthropic achievement and public advocacy. Their major event is The Vagina Monologues, which is a benefit production raising between $5,000-$7,000 for local charities.
The Alpha Rho Chapter of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. received the outstanding Greek Organization Award. They have co-sponsored events with My Brotha’s Keeper, My Sister’s Keeper, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the ISU Career Center, Life, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Profound Pioneers Entertainment Group, Black Student Union and the University Programming Board. They have developed events and programs that are educational, promote high academic ideals, build/improve cultural awareness and advocate for the needs of underrepresented populations. During Greek Week, they held events on sexual awareness, sustainability, Black history icons and held daily study hours to promote academic success. The fraternity has also performed more than 500 hours of community service for the 2010-11 academic year. Fraternity members have participated in the Social Justice Institute, Civil Rights Movement trip, Breaking Down the Barriers Retreat and the Southwestern Black Student Leadership conference.
The University Scholarship Support Program received the Outstanding Established Program Award. The program assists participants in making successful transitions to the University, provides programs and services to enhance academic success and provides opportunities for academic enrichment and personal and professional growth. The program served 89 underrepresented academically talented undergraduates by providing a supplemental source of academic support services. At the end of the fall 2010 semester, 79 percent of all program participants had a 3.0 or high cumulative grade point average and 9 percent had a cumulative 4.0 grade point average. The first group of program participants will graduate in May with 85 percent of graduating seniors having a 3.0 or higher cumulative grade point average.
Steve Klay and Sierra Dockery both received a Partners in Diversity Award. Klay and Dockery have shown a commitment to student development and have supported the Diversity Advocacy Office missions and goals both in and/or out of the classroom. They have been instrumental in assisting Diversity Advocacy in a variety of initiatives this past year.