Vallerie A. Maurice, Merrill, Thomas A., Morgan, Johnny W.
News Release Distributed 2/20/04
BATON ROUGE – The LSU AgCenter presented three major awards Friday (Feb. 20) recognizing faculty members for their contributions to its diversity initiatives.
The awards were presented at the conclusion of the LSU AgCenter’s annual Diversity Conference at the Sheraton Baton Rouge Convention Center Hotel, which operated under the theme of "Diversity Gumbo: Recipes for a Multicultural Workplace."
Although this conference marked the fourth year the LSU AgCenter has conducted such an educational session on diversity, it was the first time participation was opened to a broad audience of faculty members from other universities across the country and representatives of other government agencies and companies.
"We are proud of the LSU AgCenter’s accomplishments in the area of diversity, and we know these award recipients played crucial roles in helping us get to where we are today," said LSU AgCenter Chancellor William B. "Bill" Richardson. "They are some of the people who are making big contributions to our vision of an increasingly diverse faculty and staff serving more diverse clientele."
The award winners included five individuals and two groups. 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. Fredrick M. Enright, head of the LSU AgCenter’s Department of Veterinary Science, who won the LSU AgCenter Diversity Initiative Award for Excellence, and Dr. Richard P. Vlosky, professor and head of the AgCenter’s Louisiana Forests Products Development Center, who was the winner of the Diversity in the Workplace Award.
The team winners of the Diversity in Programming Award were extension agents from metropolitan New Orleans – Marvin Young and Erica Simon from the LSU AgCenter’s Extension Service Office in Orleans Parish.
In addition to those top awards, judges also decided to award honorable mentions to some of the nominees. Those went to Sharman Charles, an LSU AgCenter extension agent in East Baton Rouge Parish; Patricia Hives, administrative specialist in the AgCenter’s Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology; Dr. Witoon Prinyawiwatkul, associate professor and graduate coordinator in the Department of Food Science; and a group working on an educational outreach program for historically underserved forest landowners – comprised of LSU AgCenter agents Brian Chandler of East Feliciana Parish; Barry Crain, Rapides; Stefen Givens and John Holiday, St. Helena; Steven Hotard, North Central Region; Ricky Kilpatrick, Bossier; and Noah Washburn, Bienville 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."
Enright, who won the award that honors an individual who has exceeded the average standards of personal growth, commitment and dedication toward the inclusion of all people, is known by his peers as a firm believer that positive change is facilitated by an administration that leads by example. Enright has served as a trainer in the LSU AgCenter’s diversity initiative for the past three years, has served as an ally for all minorities and is described as believing "in the relevance of a diverse workforce 24-7, not just when it is convenient or politically beneficial to do so."
Vlosky received the award that recognizes an individual’s efforts in outreach/recruitment, hiring and retention of a diverse workforce/student population. "Dr. Vlosky comes from roots deeply steeped in diversity humanitarianism," said LSU AgCenter faculty member Dr. Todd Shupe, who nominated Vlosky for the award. "From his youth in New York, he was influenced by an upbringing that cherished racial equality and inclusiveness at a time when the country was in turmoil over racial issues."
Simon and Young received the Diversity in Programming Award, which celebrates outstanding outreach and educational efforts targeted to underserved or new audiences. The nomination recognized their efforts at serving the New Orleans metro area’s Vietnamese community through the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and the 4-H/YES Youth Development Program.
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.