Vallerie A. Maurice, Morgan, Johnny W. | 4/22/2005 12:00:35 AM
BATON ROUGE – The LSU AgCenter presented four major awards Friday (Feb. 11) recognizing faculty members for their contributions to its diversity initiatives.
These 2004 diversity awards were presented at the conclusion of the LSU AgCenter’s Annual Diversity Conference in Baton Rouge. That three-day series of educational events Feb. 9-11 operated under the theme of "Second Helpings of Diversity Gumbo: Recipes for a Multicultural Workplace."
Although this is the fifth year for the conference, this is the second year that the conference has been open to participants from across the country. It also is the fifth year for recognizing outstanding faculty, staff and administrators for their contributions to the LSU AgCenter’s diversity initiatives.
"It is important for us to recognize the people who are making strides to fulfill the LSU AgCenter’s vision of inclusion in all of our efforts," said LSU AgCenter Chancellor William "Bill" Richardson. "We realize it is the hard work of our faculty and staff that is making it possible for us to improve the quality to life for the people of the state through our research efforts and educational programs."
The 2004 award winners included three individuals and one group. All were nominated by their peers and selected for the awards by a panel of reviewers from inside and outside the LSU AgCenter.
The individuals who received this year’s awards and $1,200 prizes were Dr. Paul Coreil, vice chancellor and director of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service, who won the LSU AgCenter Chancellor’s Leadership Award For Diversity; Dr. Pamela Hodson, Southeast Region director for the AgCenter, who won the Diversity in the Workplace Award; and Chantel Williams, 4-H agent in Jefferson Parish, who won the LSU AgCenter Diversity Award for Excellence.
The team winners of the Diversity in Programming Award were LSU AgCenter extension agents Mark Schexnayder of Jefferson Parish and Albert P. "Rusty" Gaude III of Plaquemines Parish.
"It’s always hard for the judges to decide on the winners, because the work that the nominees are involved in is so fascinating," said Vallerie Maurice, assistant to the chancellor and director of multicultural diversity for the LSU AgCenter. "But the great thing is that these awards give us a chance to celebrate our success at reaching a diverse population of clientele across the state of Louisiana with creative, useful services and research."
Coreil was recognized with the Chancellor’s Award for his commitment to underrepresented employee populations. "Paul’s desire is to make sure that the LSU AgCenter is a beacon of light for all minorities as an organization of inclusiveness, where equal opportunity exists for all," said LSU AgCenter faculty member Gerald Roberts, who nominated Coreil for the award. "He works to create and maintain an environment of tolerance and acceptance, so that all employees feel valued regardless of differences."
Hodson received the award that recognizes an individual’s efforts in outreach, recruitment, hiring and retention of a diverse workforce and/or student population. "Dr. Hodson is truly concerned about fairness in hiring people of all races, religions, ages and genders. She looks for the potential in employees and provides support and mentorship to those individuals," said LSU AgCenter agent Sharman Charles, who nominated Hodson for the award.
Williams was awarded the Diversity Award for Excellence, which recognizes an individual who has exceeded the standards of personal growth, commitment and dedication towards the inclusion of all people. "Chantel encourages everyone to expand their existing clientele to reach more underserved audiences. She is a strong advocate for change and encourages everyone to reach ‘outside the box’ when conducting programs," said LSU AgCenter poultry scientist Dr. Dan Satterlee, who nominated her for the award.
Schexnayder and Gaude received the Diversity in Programming Award, which celebrates outstanding outreach and educational efforts targeted to underserved or new audiences. "Mark and Rusty use a variety of techniques to bring divergent groups together around a common cause. Through many different initiatives these nominees effect positive change for inner city youths, Vietnamese fishermen and those who have not had the means to advocate for themselves," said LSU AgCenter agent Chantel Williams, who nominated the team.
The LSU AgCenter’s formal diversity initiative began in April 1998 and was the first of its kind in the LSU System. Since that time, the initiative has included community outreach forums to determine how to better serve all Louisiana citizens, diversity training for faculty and staff and a variety of other programs to ensure the AgCenter is an inclusive organization that capitalizes on the diversity of its employees and its clientele.