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Ohio State University logo Recognizing Excellence

Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award

The Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Awards recognize individuals or groups who have demonstrated a significant commitment to enhancing diversity at Ohio State and to exceeding expectations in implementing the Diversity Action Plan. The program, now in its 21st year, rewards efforts to enhance diversity on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, sex, age, disability, veteran or military service status, gender identity, economic status, political belief, marital status or social background. Recipients were honored with a plaque and a $1,200 honorarium at a spring luncheon during the Office of Minority Affairs’ ninth annual National Conference on Diversity, Race and Learning. The University Senate Committee on Diversity sponsors the awards program in cooperation with the Office of Human Resources.

Recognizing Excellence at Ohio State

Current University Awards winners

Previous University Awards winners

Click on photo or scroll down the page to read winner's bio.

Heather Allen
Associate Professor
Department of Chemistry

Heather Allen’s contributions to diversity issues focus on women in science.

For the past five years, she has presented an annual workshop entitled “Careers in Chemistry” at the Columbus Public Schools’ Women’s Conference. She also has helped to diversify the interviewing pool of new candidates for the chemistry department. She has helped obtain scholarships for young women, predominately women of color, to use toward attaining higher education degrees in science fields.

Allen has used her research and experience to not only advance her field but also to encourage young women to study the sciences and help diversify the pool of future scientists. She has voluntarily mentored more than 16 undergraduates in her research lab since 2000, eight of whom were women, and many from racially diverse groups. In May 2006, she received the Empowered Woman Award at the Columbus Public School District’s Young Women’s Empowerment Conference.

Allen’s commitment and dedication to help students achieve their dreams is what sets her apart, but her willingness to go above and beyond and help to provide opportunities for diverse groups of students is what make her stand above the rest.

“She is making a difference and she is leading by example, not only in words, but also by deeds,” a colleague said. Allen’s research focuses on the atmospheric chemistry of global warming, ozone depletion and air pollution and even the chemistry of breathing. She earned her B.S. in chemistry from the University of California, Irvine in 1993 and continued on to complete her master’s and doctoral degrees, completing the latter in 1997.

Allen came to Ohio State in 2000 as an assistant professor of chemistry.

Kevin Harty
Special Events Coordinator
Office of International Affairs

Known for his determination, excellence and forward thinking, Kevin Harty has worked to embrace diversity through his actions and cultural programs.He has helped build a supportive environment for Ohio State’s large and diverse international student population. Harty has fostered cross-cultural communication and understanding on campus and implemented creative programs, both large and small.

He also has worked to create programs and events in which American and international students interact and learn from each other. Harty played a vital role in developing and implementing a number of campuswide programs that showcased the breadth of the cultural diversity that exists at OSU, including the Study Abroad Fair, A Taste of OSU, the annual Thanksgiving Day Dinner, International Scholar Research Exposition, Buckeye World Tour, International Week and the International New Year’s Eve Party. In addition, he regularly hosts workshops, brings in international guests and is frequently selected to make substantial professional presentations. Colleagues say his passion and enthusiasm are contagious.

“Kevin has truly given his heart to all that surrounds him, perfectly accomplishing the role of adviser, colleague, mentor and friend and in the process illustrating what it really means to be a caring individual, challenging students to develop themselves not only as leaders but as individuals who value and support diversity,” a colleague said.

Harty earned his B.A. in sociology from John Carroll University. He joined Ohio State in 1974 and earned his master’s from the university in 1992.

Judy Wu
Associate Professor
Department of History
College of Humanities

Judy Wu has gone to great lengths to encourage and increase diversity at Ohio State. She has served as coordinator of the Asian American Studies Committee and has worked hard to promote an undergraduate minor and to propose a graduate concentration in the subject. She also played a leadership role in establishing a consortium for Asian American Studies. Wu has led the Asian American Program with enthusiasm, creativity and success. She organized and promoted the Month of Remembrance in 2005 to commemorate the internment of Japanese Americans and has supported the efforts to preserve the Japanese teahouse and shrine in Westerville.

Wu also has forged partnerships with student affairs offices, academic units and community organizations to foster an understanding of what the field of Asian American studies offers the broader community of central Ohio.

Working with students at all levels, Wu has helped promote a cross-cultural collaborative environment among groups and individuals. She has worked to advance the recruitment of faculty from diverse backgrounds and contributed in the development of curriculum reflective of diversity issues.

“Professor Wu is committed to building bridges across racial, ethnic and GBLT communities in enhancing the educational and cultural experiences for students of all backgrounds,” a colleague said.

Wu received her undergraduate degree in 1992 from Stanford, where she also went on to earn her master’s and doctorate degrees. She came to Ohio State in 1997 as a humanities fellow and has continued to encourage diversity through her teachings and work in Asian American studies.

Diversity Committee
The Ohio State University Mansfield

Office of University Housing

(From left) Norman Jones, Cathy Stimpert, Major Price, Donna Hight, Michelle McLane, Cynthia Callahan, Jeane Copenhaver-Johnson, Austin McCoy and Barbara McGovern. Not pictured: Patricia Burdette, Pamela Leonard and Mike Schopieray.

The Diversity Committee at OSU Mansfield works passionately toward the goal of community enhancement through the enforcement of civil rights and social justice. Established in 2002 by the Faculty Assembly, the committee promotes a campus climate in which differences among ethnic and racial backgrounds, genders, physical abilities, sexual orientations, ages, learning styles and religious and political beliefs are recognized and valued for the richness they bring to the educational experience.

“This committee has clearly gone above and beyond expectations in enhancing diversity on the Mansfield campus and in partnering for diversity efforts with area agencies and organizations,” an administrator said.

The committee has coordinated several events that bring diversity to the Mansfield campus community and student body. One such event is the annual Distinguished Diversity Lecture, the first of which was held in 2005 and featured Jane Elliot, an internationally acclaimed lecturer on racism. The committee also has helped to make Black History Month a highly visible event.

In addition, the committee has also worked cooperatively with other university committees to sponsor and plan guest lectures on topics such as gender issues and homosexuality. With its events and collaborations, the committee has increased discussions on diversity in the community.

University Honors and Scholars Center

Office of University Housing

(From left) Shahera “Yoda” Williams, Caitlin O’Neil, Laura Herbert, Chad Sowald, Laquore Meadows, Brian Orefice and Juliana Vines. Not pictured are Marissa Andreozzi, Ashley Bowsher, Cheria Dial, Kenny Ferenchak, Katie Krause and Kristin Rude.

UNITY, a student organization within the University Honors and Scholars Center, provides educational opportunities that work at ending stereotypes and bring together students of diverse backgrounds. Created in 2003 to promote multiculturalism and diversity, UNITY works to bridge the gap and increase understanding between people of different race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and economic status.

“Always creative, genuinely welcoming and striving to be inclusive, UNITY captures the true spirit of diversity in all of its initiatives,” said an administrator.

The program boasts leadership and service opportunities in support of diversity enhancement, a supportive environment and achievement in recruiting, retaining and graduating diverse groups of students.

In the past four years, UNITY has created cultural programs and excursions for students to places like New York City to visit Harlem and learn about its African American and Latino history and to Toronto to explore diversity issues in Chinatown. In addition, its Dinner and Dialogue series allows students and professors to share a meal while discussing important issues from a varying range of topics. This year, UNITY is taking part in a service initiative with Hamilton Township High School to help at-risk students make the transition to college.

There are more than 80 students involved in the organization, and the number is growing.

“The organization has worked toward overcoming barriers that have the potential to limit their and their peers’ exposure to diverse ideologies, behaviors and people. Its work will have a significant impact on the lives of students and their families for many years to come,” an administrator said.

2007 Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award


Previous winners

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