CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Six individuals received the University of Northern Iowa Diversity Matters Award in recognition of their efforts to help the university achieve its diversity-related goals. The awards were presented by executive vice president and provost Gloria Gibson during the UNI Town Hall Meeting on Diversity, held Thursday, Jan. 20, in the Old Central Ballroom in Maucker Union.
The 2011 UNI Diversity Matters Award recipients are: Anthony Stevens, director of the Educational Talent Search program; Drake Martin, assistant director of residence education; Inez Murtha, director of the Academic Learning Center; Karen Mitchell, professor of communication studies; Pierre-Damien Mvuyekure, professor of English language and literature; and Steve Carignan, assistant vice president and executive director of the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center.
Stevens has successfully written grants bringing millions of dollars to UNI to support the university's outreach efforts in Black Hawk County and especially in the heart of urban Waterloo. He has helped thousands of minority, low-income and first-generation students achieve a postsecondary education. Stevens has worked at UNI for more than 30 years and has quietly worked to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity for success.
Martin currently serves on the Student Affairs Diversity Committee and has coordinated numerous diversity programs on campus. He is also in charge of training resident assistants and residence life coordinators on diversity. According to his nominator, Martin challenges his peers to be open-minded and think about all sides of an issue, but always ensures a comfortable environment for everyone. His nominator also highlighted that Martin is genuine and caring, and his love of learning is reflected when he is with others.
Murtha has worked at UNI since 1969 when she became a secretary with the UNI Center for Urban Education (UNI-CUE). According to her nominators, developing and empowering staff members are two of her greatest contributions to UNI. Murtha has dedicated her professional life to mentoring multicultural students, people and communities. She has mentored several staff members throughout their careers and has provided leadership at the state, regional and national levels by presenting at new member training events and editing handbooks for new professionals.
Mitchell's career as a professor did not necessarily have to include a commitment to diversity. However, as her nominators describe, she has committed her life to developing essential human rights and social justice. Her nominator suggests that it is clear that she could have excelled in her work in less political ways, but her commitment to diversity has worked to make a more inclusive environment for everyone.
Mvuyekure has served on the UNI Multicultural Coordinating Council, helping implement several changes that can be seen today, including the Diversity Council. Mvuyekure has contributed to hiring qualified minority faculty and has served as the faculty adviser for the UNI African Union student organization. Additionally, he is the founder of the Black Student Union. According to his nominator, Mvuyekure maintains relationships with underrepresented faculty and staff across campus, helping ensure that their voices are heard.
Carignan has shown leadership in developing social and cultural understanding, as well as an unwavering commitment to diversity. He led efforts to provide a multi-discipline look at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues with the "Standing on Higher Ground" project this year. He is a lifetime member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and has volunteered throughout the Cedar Valley including developing scholarships for minority families. As president of the Downtown Waterloo Rotary, Carignan made special efforts to recruit African-American members. He serves as a volunteer at UNI-CUE for Upward Bound programs and regularly speaks on leadership, learning and creativity.
For more information on the Diversity Town Hall Meeting or the Diversity Matters Awards, contact Terry Hogan, UNI vice president for student affairs and UNI Diversity Council chair, at (319) 273-2332, or firstname.lastname@example.org.