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University of Dayton wins national supplier diversity award

The University of Dayton has received the Jesse L. Moore Supplier 2022 Diversity Award, a national recognition from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine honoring colleges and universities that take proactive steps to support and engage with minority-owned businesses.

The publication selected winners for their efforts in recruiting, hiring and retaining suppliers from underrepresented groups through institutional supplier diversity offices, innovative programs and other initiatives. Winners will be included in the April 2022 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. 

“As a Catholic institution of higher education, supplier diversity is intrinsic to our mission to advance the common good,” said University of Dayton President Eric F. Spina. “The University of Dayton has placed a high priority on expanding supplier diversity, identifying it as one of the University's key components in our effort to support equity and inclusion on our campus and in the Greater Dayton community. We are appreciative that this award acknowledges this work and our progress, and I am very grateful to Executive Director for Procurement Sara Harrison and her team for their leadership and hard work."

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine noted UD’s decade of participation as a “committed buying organization” with the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce Minority Business Partnership, an economic development initiative to grow the local economy through stronger engagement with the region’s minority businesses. For example, about 20% of contractors in the construction of the University’s new 1401 S. Main building and the Roger Glass Center for the Arts currently under construction are minority- or women-owned businesses.

In 2018, the University launched the Greater West Dayton Incubator. Its work aligns with the University’s supplier goals, and fosters support for underrepresented, under-resourced, and underserved entrepreneurs in the Greater Dayton startup community.

On campus, the University strengthened its supplier diversity program through the launch of an centralized e-procurement system in 2017 that helped identify and feature diverse suppliers. Other internal efforts included the development of a procurement advisory council, education and training for campus units and buyers, and creating strong local relationships with higher education supplier diversity teams.

The COVID-19 pandemic also created opportunities for the University. UD found new supply chains from new suppliers, Harrison said, with diverse and small suppliers often proving to be the best partners for reliability, cost, speed and agility. While many employees were working remotely at the start of the pandemic, the University held Zoom training and education sessions with employees about the importance of supplier diversity.

“Sourcing from minority-owned, women-owned and local businesses allowed our diverse suppliers to touch and help every person on campus through personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies,” Harrison said. “Relationships established through outreach events were leveraged and we were pleased to form new strategic partnerships with diverse suppliers.”

UD has a five-year goal to spend 20% of its annual purchases with minority- and women-owned suppliers by fiscal year 2025-26. 

This is the third award for UD in less than a year recognizing its diversity, equity and inclusion  work. Diverse: Issues In Higher Education highlighted Tiffany Taylor Smith, UD vice president for diversity and inclusion, among its 25 outstanding women for Women’s History Month. Last fall, UD was among a small group of schools nationally honored by INSIGHT Into Diversity with a Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, which recognizes U.S. institutions of higher education that demonstrate a notable commitment to diversity and inclusion across campus.

“When it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion, colleges and universities have traditionally put their resources into recruiting and retaining diverse students and employees — however, there is a third leg of DEI that focuses on supplier diversity,” said Lenore Pearlstein, co-publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity. “The INSIGHT Into Diversity Jesse L. Moore Supplier Diversity Award, named in honor of longtime advocate and economic development pioneer Jesse L. Moore for his leadership in promoting supplier diversity and the success of minority-owned businesses, is our way of ensuring this critical area of DEI also gets recognized for the important role that it plays.”   

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine is the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.


News and Communications Staff