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Oklahoma State University

Oklahoma State University recognized as a “Diversity Champion” in top tier of national HEED Award winners

Wed, August 30, 2017
OSU wins HEED Award

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine has recognized Oklahoma State University as one of 11 Diversity Champion colleges and universities in the nation.

The designation “Diversity Champion” is given by the magazine to exemplify an unyielding commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout campus communities, across academic programs, and at the highest administrative levels, according to Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

“Oklahoma State University is a visionary leader among campus communities striving for diversity and inclusion,” said Pearlstein. “As a Diversity Champion school, OSU exceeds everyday expectations, often eclipsing even its own goals, and develops successful strategies that serve as models of excellence for other higher education institutions.”

OSU and the ten other colleges and universities selected as diversity champions rank in what Pearlstein calls “the top tier” of the magazine’s 80 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award recipients for 2017.  This is the sixth consecutive year that OSU has received the HEED Award.  

“We have talented leaders focused constantly on progress in diversity and inclusion, and a campus community that is very supportive and inclusive,” said OSU President Burns Hargis. “We thank the magazine for this special designation and hope our continued work will inspire others to be welcoming places for all.”  

More than 70 diversity-related student organizations at OSU empower students to promote their heritage and become leaders. The university also supports K-12 programs that facilitate students’ ability to successfully transition to college. Additionally, a capital campaign within the Division of Institutional Diversity has raised $3.7 million over the past three years, which includes 25 new endowed, privately-funded scholarships, and anticipates an additional 10 in the near future, all focused on promoting a culture of inclusion. In October, the university will host the third OSU Diversity Hall of Fame to recognize individuals who have significantly contributed to the legacy of inclusion and diversity at the institution.

“OSU is honored to again be recognized as a national leader for our commitment to inclusion and diversity,” said Dr. Jason F. Kirksey, vice president for the Division of Institutional Diversity and chief diversity officer at OSU. “We are proud of OSU’s land-grant heritage and continue working to adhere to our mission of being an open and welcoming university system, focused on facilitating the success of all members of our campus communities. While we have immense work ahead of us, the magnitude of the initiatives, programs, and overall efforts from the OSU administration, faculty, staff, and students is phenomenal and exemplifies the institution’s commitment to achieving inclusive excellence.”

OSU has garnered national attention for its inclusion and diversity efforts by earning several prestigious honors, including the 2016 National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) Institutional Excellence Award, the 2016 Southwest Minority Supplier Development Council Corporation of the Year Award, the 2016 Minority Access, Inc. Institution Committed to Diversity Award, the 2016 Mosaic Five-star Inclusive Workplace Culture Award from the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce’s diversity business council, and 2017 Roosevelt Thomas Champion of Diversity Award from the American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity.

Additionally, this past March, Kirksey was recognized with the NADOHE 2017 Dr. Frank W. Hale, Jr. Distinguished Service Award, which is awarded to an individual who is distinguished in higher education, through a robust record of consistent service, for inclusive excellence; exercising innovative and courageous leadership; serving as a visionary in the field; and exemplifying the philosophy, principles, and practices of NADOHE; and contributing substantially to diversity and inclusive excellence in higher education. The University is ranked in the 25th Annual Top 100 Degree Producers edition of Diverse Issues in Higher Education for the number of African American, American Indian, Asian American, and Latino graduates across multiple degree fields. Last fall, OSU was honored with the designation of becoming a Purple Heart University.

“We are humbled to be the only university in Oklahoma, as well as among a select few in the nation, to hold the distinction of being recognized as a 2017 Diversity Champion and a six-year recipient of the nationally prestigious HEED Award,” Kirksey said.

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine is the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education today and is known for its annual HEED Award, the only award that recognizes colleges and universities for outstanding diversity and inclusion efforts across their campuses.

Current, archived, and digital issues of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine are available online at insightintodiversity.com.