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

Kathy Williamson Named Winner of President’s Award for Diversity

By Tom Robinson

Kathy Williamson, director of human resources for employee relations and strategic initiatives at Old Dominion University, was named winner of the 2016 President's Award for Diversity on April 19 at the annual John R. Broderick Diversity Champion awards luncheon.

The President's Award for Diversity has been presented at Old Dominion since the 1990s, with President John R. Broderick one of its earliest recipients. The award was renamed for President Broderick in 2013 by the University's Board of Visitors in recognition of his support of diversity, inclusion and equity.

President Broderick has been instrumental in the creation of the Committing Our Resources to Excellence Through Equity initiative, which focuses on maximizing diversity among faculty. Additionally, his Task Force on Inclusive Excellence engages the entire University toward becoming more inclusive.

Williamson was honored for promoting diversity and inclusion internationally as well as in Hampton Roads.

She received an award from the University's Staff Dream Fund, which allowed her to travel to South Africa as part of an Old Dominion service-learning project with Jennifer Fish, associate professor and chair of women's studies.

Williamson worked for three weeks in Cape Town, South Africa, with a non-governmental organization, Grandmothers against Poverty and AIDS (GAPA), helping women whose families have been impacted by HIV-AIDS.

While there, she led a series of workshops on self-care. Williamson has also opened her home to four South African GAPA members who visited Old Dominion for the University's Literary Festival.

She demonstrated her commitment to age diversity by volunteering as a staff adviser for Old Dominion's Alternative Break Program this spring during a service trip to Moab, Utah.

The University's spring diversity champions and President's Award nominees were:

Brandon Brown, residence hall director in housing and residence life.

Debbie White, senior associate athletic director for external relations.

Judith Dunkerly-Bean, assistant professor of teaching and learning, Darden College of Education.

Dana Heller, professor, chair of the Department of English and interim dean of the College of Arts and Letters, effective July 25, 2016.

Kelly Rippard, lecturer of teaching and learning, Darden College of Education.

Narketta Sparkman-Key, assistant professor, counseling and human services, Darden College of Education.

Melvina Sumter, associate professor of sociology and criminal justice.

Jason Lynch, doctoral student, higher education.

Stephen Stone, graduate assistant.

Benjamin Hiza, graduate assistant.

Fall 2015 diversity champions were:

M'Hammed Abdous, assistant vice president of teaching and learning, Center for Learning and Teaching.

Avi Santo, associate professor of communication and theatre arts, College of Arts and Letters.

Stephanie Flores, international student.

Sailee Deshpande, international student.

Edward Neukrug, professor of counseling and human services, Darden College of Education.

Luisa Igloria, professor of English, College of Arts and Letters.

Bruce Rubin, associate professor of finance, Strome College of Business.

Shelley Mishoe, Dean of the College of Health Sciences.

Debra Major, professor of psychology and Eminent Scholar, College of Sciences.

Jeffrey Toussaint, lecturer of sociology and criminology, College of Arts and Letters.

David Kidd and Elizabeth Johnson, Literacy Fellows at Norfolk Academy.

Old Dominion was recently given a HEIDI (Hampton Roads Employer Inclusion and Diversity Initiative) Award. It recognizes outstanding contributions of local businesses and organizations that embrace diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

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