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W&M earns Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award for third consecutive year

  • Rays of sunlight are seen behind a post at an end of the Sunken Garden
    HEED Award:  INSIGHT Into Diversity selected W&M for its sustained and strategic initiatives in creating a holistic and respectful university community while remaining steadfast in pursuit of inclusive excellence.  Photo by Jim Agnew
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The university receives Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine for three consecutive years

William & Mary’s ongoing efforts to promote diversity and inclusion have resulted in a hat trick.

For the third consecutive year, the university received the coveted Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. W&M is featured with 90 other recipients in the November issue.

“We are humbled by this award, knowing that this is a time to redouble our efforts. While COVID-19 requires us to physically distance from one another, that makes the work of fostering belonging at William & Mary even more important,” said W&M President Katherine A. Rowe.

“I am grateful to the students, faculty, and staff who advance inclusion and equity for our community every day.”

According to the magazine’s announcement, INSIGHT Into Diversity selected W&M for its sustained and strategic initiatives in creating a holistic and respectful university community while remaining steadfast in pursuit of inclusive excellence.

“It’s great for the university to receive this honor for the third year in a row,” said Chon Glover, the university’s chief diversity officer. “INSIGHT Into Diversity raises the bar every year, making each successive award harder to achieve. So this third award incentivizes our community to continue doing this critical work as we navigate the uncertainties of the health pandemic and the renewed awakening of social injustice.”

Some of the efforts acknowledged by the magazine this year include work to increase access for first-generation and low-income students and ongoing reconciliation work around W&M’s history, which resulted in the university’s new land acknowledgement statement — developed in close partnership with local, historically-linked Virginia Indian tribes.

The university also refocused key fundraising efforts on diversity and inclusion, at the close of its For the Bold campaign.

“One of the new initiatives was the fundraising effort for One Tribe One Day,” Glover said. “The university made that decision to focus the day’s efforts on diversity and inclusion. Our generous alumni rallied to support the Center for Student Diversity, the Lemon Project, the Office of Diversity & Inclusion and the Memorial to the Enslaved at higher levels than we have seen before.”

W&M also continued its efforts to recruit and retain a more diverse faculty, staff and student body. Additionally, the university embedded diversity and equity in its new list of values and redesigned mission and vision statements, created as part of the university’s strategic planning process.