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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Champion of Diversity Awards Presented

Old Dominion University's Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity recently presented four Champion of Diversity awards for the month of January.

Three of the awards went to individuals on campus: Frank Day, professor of biological sciences; Chandra de Silva, vice provost for faculty and program development; and Ian Jones, a senior communication major. The fourth award, to a Hampton Roads Champion of Diversity, went to the TR Dance Center.

The program, which started last fall, is in keeping with ODU's recognition of the inherent value of equity and diversity in the classroom, workplace and community. The Champion of Diversity awards are designed to honor and celebrate individuals who encourage and advance the principles of equity and diversity.

The latest Diversity Champions are:

Faculty Champion of Diversity -Frank Day, professor of biological sciences, established the Human Diversity Committee of the Society of Wetland Scientists. He also facilitated three successful proposals for grants from the National Science Foundation to support an undergraduate mentoring program for students from underrepresented groups. Thanks to his efforts, 57 students from 38 institutions have received awards from this program.

Administrator Champion of Diversity - Chandra de Silva, vice provost for faculty and program development, was instrumental in starting ODU's annual Africa Day event. Since 2007, the event has grown, and is attended by hundreds of students, faculty, staff and community members each fall. De Silva ensures that all African nations are represented and encourages a wide range of students to participate in the design and implementation of the event.

Student Champion of Diversity - Ian Jones is a senior communication major who serves as the marketing officer for ODU Out, the university's LGBT organization. He is being recognized for applying a strong work ethic to balance his academic work with his unparalleled commitment to the LGBT community.

Hampton Roads Champion of Diversity - Through the doors of the TR Dance Center crosses a varied cohort of individuals seeking to express themselves through the art of dance. Owner Todd Rosenlieb believes that dance can unite people from different cultural backgrounds including, but not limited to, LGBT and special-needs communities. His partner, Ricardo Melendez, is a dancer and teacher of theater at the Governor's School for the Arts. Rosenlieb and Melendez are supporters of Equality Virginia, Hampton Roads Pride and promoting the arts in the city of Norfolk.

The Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity invites members of the university community to nominate individuals for the Champion of Diversity awards from the following categories: faculty members, administrators, staff members, students and Hampton Roads residents. A committee composed of representatives from across the university reviews the nominations and selects the recipients.

Monthly honorees receive a commemorative plate and certificate. All recipients will be honored at a year-end ceremony, where the champion who most exemplifies the principles of equity and diversity will be recognized and presented with the President's Award for Diversity.

For more information about the awards program, call the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity at 683-3141.

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