Students, faculty and staff honored with President’s Diversity Awards
Author: Chris Broderick, PSU Communications
Posted: June 8, 2018
Steve Percy and Lisa Grady-Willis

The Portland State community honored a dozen students, faculty and staff Thursday who received the 2018 President’s Diversity Awards for their advocacy, engagement, support and accomplishments.

President Rahmat Shoureshi opened the awards program by noting that about one-third of the 6,000 degrees conferred by PSU this year are earned by students of color, urging the university to continue efforts to recruit and support more underrepresented groups.

Shirley Jackson, professor and department chair of Black Studies, said in her keynote address that diversity goes beyond racial and ethnic representation to include curriculum, culture, backgrounds, community outreach and much more. She cited recent examples of student groups from Portland’s Grant High School and Tigard’s Twality Middle School whose campus visits enriched both them and PSU students and faculty they interacted with.   

“Instead of building walls at our borders, we need to cross bridges and see what’s on the other side,” she said, adding that diversity also includes valuing differences of opinion across the political spectrum.  

“There are few places that we can have conversations that can make us uncomfortable, and a university is one of them … This is what diversity looks like.”

The event was hosted by Director of Diversity Education and Learning Lisa Grady-Willis and College of Urban and Public Affairs Dean Steve Percy.

This year’s award recipients include:
  • Faculty Awards: School of Social Work Asst. Prof. Gita Mehrotra and OHSU-PSU School of Public Health Asst. Prof. Dawn Richardson.
  • Staff Awards: School of Social Work Student Inclusion Coordinator Marina Barcelo and Pan-African Commons Program Coordinator Shanice Clarke.
  • Undergraduate Student Award: Sulema Rodriguez, Speech and Hearing Sciences and Psychology dual major in College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
  • Graduate Student Award: Keela Johnson, Ph.D. candidate in Social Work and Social Research in School of Social Work.
  • Alumni Award:  Bobbin Singh, executive director of Oregon Justice Resource Center.
  • Commission on Sexual and Gender Equity Award: Eddy Alvarez Jr., Ebony Oldham and Shayna Snyder.
  • Commission on the Status of Women Essay Contest Winners:  Rae Stevenson (undergraduate) and Nancy Perry (graduate).   

Top photo: Ceremony emcees — Steve Percy, dean of the College of Urban and Public Affairs, and Lisa Grady-Willis, director of diversity education & learning, Global Diversity and Inclusion.

Bottom photo: Audience recognizes the contributions of the family of award winner Sulema Rodriguez.