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Celebrating SDSU's Diversity

An awards ceremony honors diversity among the SDSU community.

The San Diego State University Diversity Awards serve as an opportunity for the entire SDSU community to come together and celebrate their long standing commitment to diversity, inclusion, and social justice.

The 2013 ceremony will run from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. April 24 at the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center.

The event highlights and acknowledges campus leaders and corporate and community supporters for their contributions to diversity and social justice. 

The following awards will be presented to these recipients:

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Nola Butler-Byrd

Faculty Diversity Award — Nola Butler-Byrd
Associate Professor, Community-Based Block Program
Chair, Department of Counseling and School Psychology
College of Education

As a professor in the department of Counseling and School Psychology, Butler-Byrd has participated in developing a curriculum that prepares future counselors to be culturally competent and able to serve diverse, multicultural clients.

Nola Butler-Byrd in particular shows a strong commitment to equity and social justice. Her course offerings provide students with cross-cultural counseling communication skills and train them in multicultural dimensions of counseling and implementing multiculturally competent research. She has also developed Universal Design curriculum that can accommodate Deaf students.

During her time at SDSU, she has been at the forefront of recruiting and retaining diverse students and faculty members into her department and advising and mentoring African American students, alumni, and colleagues.

Butler-Byrd joined the Committee on Diversity, Equity and Outreach in 2008 and became its chair in 2011. She also participated actively in the Strategic Planning Diversity Task Force last semester, where she made significant contributions to the Task Force’s goals and outcomes as listed in its final report.

Her concerns for social justice are very broad, taking into account issues of race and ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, disability, immigrant status, and many other intersecting issues. She builds bridges and creates long-standing collaborations and coalitions. She is one of the people on campus with the broadest vision for social justice and it is an honor working with her on various equity issues on campus.

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Janet Abbott

Staff Diversity Award — Janet M. Abbott

Director, Compact Scholars and Thomas B. Day Student Success Programs

Janet M. Abbott currently serves as the director of the Compact Scholars and Thomas B. Day Student Success programs. These programs serve approximately 2,500 undergraduate students and benefit SDSU by delivering student support services to address complex student issues in order to achieve greater retention and graduation rates. 

Her commitment to diversity, meaningful collaboration and participative planning between colleagues in Student Affairs and Academic Affairs is what she embraces, in order to effectively achieve the desired outcomes in support of student success.

In 2005, director of Compact Scholars, Abbott was entrusted to oversee the conceptualization, development and implementation of the student support services needed to launch the postsecondary component of Compact for Success.  Her work as director is defined by the vision of the Compact partnership to extend the potential for Sweetwater students to succeed beyond their district and to continue along a trajectory of academic success as students at SDSU.

Abbott's relentless commitment to improve graduation rates is demonstrated through  a comprehensive menu of offerings to all Compact Scholars including personal advising, social and community events, University Seminar, community service opportunities, scholarship and undergraduate research opportunities.   

Alumni Diversity Award — Sean Sheppard
President and CEO of Embrace

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Sean Sheppard

President and CEO of Embrace

Founded in 2000 by CEO Sean Sheppard, Embrace programs are designed to connect college student leaders to San Diego’s multi-cultural community in the areas of social and physical wellness through service learning and volunteerism.

Embrace is built on the philosophy that serving less fortunate members of civilian and veteran communities brings people together — irrespective of their race, religion or cultural upbringing.

Through Sheppard's leadership, Embrace has been giving college students and recent grads a chance to use their skills to help the homeless, disabled veterans and underprivileged school children, while honing their own leadership and organizational abilities.

Student Organization Diversity Award — LGBTSU

The LGBT Student Union has a proud history at SDSU including a long-standing commitment to foster awareness and social justice through its signature events, such as The Big Gay Barbeque. The group also involves its members in campus programming such as the Pride Action Committee, speakers bureau, High School Conference, and Alumni outreach.

The current board is committed to improving campus life by ensuring a place and voice for all LGBTQ students, regardless of their affiliation with the LGBT Student Union. The board does this via weekly meetings, ongoing programming and events, where they provide a welcoming, safe learning environment for students, faculty, and staff.

In the near future, the organization will be changing their name to the Queer Student Union. The new name exhibits a more inclusive way of describing the organization.

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LGBT Student Union
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