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University repeats as recipient of national diversity and inclusion award

For the second consecutive year, the University of Dayton is among a small group of schools nationally honored with a Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. The HEED Award recognizes U.S. institutions of higher education that demonstrate a notable commitment to diversity and inclusion across campus.

UD was one of 101 colleges and universities to receive the award for 2021. 

“The University of Dayton affirms that diversity, equity, and inclusion are inextricably linked with excellence,” said UD President Eric F. Spina. “We aggressively pursue these core values, which align with our mission of building community in the world and working for justice for all people."

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine noted UD’s work to build on the diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives highlighted in 2020. In spring 2021, UD graduated 40 students from the first cohort of 42 Flyer Promise Scholars, a scholarship program offering greater access and affordability for high-achieving and high-need students, many from historically underrepresented and underserved populations.

Due to the strong momentum of UD’s diversified enrollment channel strategy, UD’s undergraduate student body is it’s most diverse in history, containing new records for the number and percentage of students from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as new highs for enrollment of Pell-grant eligible students.

UD created the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in 2016, naming Lawrence Burnley as the first vice president for diversity and inclusion. Since then, the office launched the Inclusive Excellence Academy, a professional development program for faculty and staff, and an annual Inclusive Excellence Scholar Residency which brings nationally recognized speakers on diversity and inclusion to campus each fall.

In 2020, the University introduced a strategic plan; established a council of faculty, staff and students to oversee those efforts; and launched an 11-point action plan. UD also launched a presidential commission on the status of women.

Other notable diversity and inclusion efforts at UD in recent years include strategies to achieve greater diversity and equity in the workforce and student body;  professional development opportunities for faculty and staff on diversity and inclusion topics; and establishment of an LGBTQ+ student support center.

“This is a wonderful way to acknowledge work being done to advance diversity, equity and inclusion across the University,” Burnley said. “This award recognizes the level of our commitment, and our strong belief that these ideals are tied to academic excellence.”

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine is the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. UD will be featured along with the other recipients in the November 2021 issue.


News and Communications Staff