USD honors employees, student with Diversity Awards

USD honors employees, student with Diversity Awards Social justice, intercultural awareness and fostering positive relationships are significant reasons why diversity is vital to the campus community at The University of South Dakota. Individuals demonstrating these exceptional characteristics were honored Wednesday at an event sponsored by the USD Office of Institutional Diversity and the Campus Diversity Enhancement Group (CDEG). The 2009 Diversity Awards were awarded to staff members and a recent graduate during the Office of Institutional Diversityâ�?�?s annual program honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Nominations were provided by all members of the university community to recognize outstanding leadership in diversity and cultural awareness. The Dream Catcher Award, which is presented annually to an individual or individuals â�?�? through deeds or actions â�?�? who represent the principles of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., including social justice, equality and the preservation of Dr. Kingâ�?�?s â�?�?dream,â�? was awarded to Barry Vickrey, dean of the USD School of Law. Vickreyâ�?�?s impact on diversity at USD is evident as he helped implement Indian Law at The University of South Dakota School of Law. He continues to be involved with many campus diversity initiatives, including the Universityâ�?�?s establishment of CDEG as well as the creation of the Chief Diversity Officer position at USD. The Viva la Difference Award recognizes a Creative Services Employee who supports and fosters diversity on the USD campus. Kathy Van Kley, senior secretary at the Disaster Mental Health Institute (DHMI) and the 2009 recipient, was cited for her supervision and support of doctoral fellows who work in the DMHI and praised for her interaction with graduate and undergraduate students taking DMHI courses. â�?�?She is very concerned to help (students) feel at home, helping them settle arrangements within the university, helping them find housing, and even taking them shopping,â�? her nomination form stated. The Rosa Louise Parks Award, given annually to a student who contributes to intercultural awareness, supports diverse activities and demonstrates positive interactions with others, was presented to Terry Liggins, a 2008 USD graduate who is now working on his masterâ�?�?s degree at the university. Liggins was nominated for facing many challenges and overcoming them successfully through hard work, confidence and a positive attitude. Through elected and voluntary roles, Ligginsâ�?�? contributions to diversity awareness include reaching out to students of all backgrounds and ethnicities as well as promoting issues important to all members of the USD community. A photo of Liggins is available for download at www.usd.edu/urelations/images/Terry_Liggins.JPG. Award recipients are presented with a certificate and a gift of $50. Recipient of the Dream Catcher Award also receives a unique work of art.

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