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University Earns Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award

INSIGHT Into DiversityFerris State University’s continuing efforts to strengthen diversity and inclusion on campus has received national recognition from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

The university received a 2012 INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from the magazine. The HEED award was presented to Ferris Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion David Pilgrim. Ferris was named a winner of the first-ever national HEED award designed for colleges, universities and school systems that showcase top-notch efforts and successes in diversity and inclusion among its community of students, faculty, staff and vendors.

Ferris was included in a group of top colleges and universities that included the Air Force Academy, Michigan State University, the University of Minnesota and the University of Virginia.

“We’re truly honored to be in the company of a number of prestigious colleges and universities, regionally and nationally, recognized with 2012 INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award,” said Pilgrim, founder and curator of the newly-renovated Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, now located in the Ferris Library for Information, Technology and Education (FLITE) building on the Big Rapids campus. “We’re making progress toward strengthening diversity and inclusion at Ferris. We’ve recently added the Hispanic/Latino Cultural Center, we had the opening of the new Jim Crow Museum, we’ve increased the number of international students, and we continue to do important work with the Tuition Incentive Program.”

Pilgrim was gratified that the university’s efforts to become more diverse and inclusive are being recognized by people outside of the Ferris community.

“We aspire to be a truly diverse and inclusive campus,” he said. “We’re very appreciative that people from outside of our university community are noticing our efforts. They are objective observers.”

INSIGHT Into Diversity’s stated goal for the award “Is to help you assess your school’s diversity efforts and programs not only among your peers, but just as important to be able to use the results for your own internal purposes to discover where you may need improvement and/or where you excel.”

“The award was the result of a very extensive survey of what we do at the university. It examines our accomplishments and also reflects some of our challenges,” said Pilgrim, who was named chief diversity officer at Ferris in November 2006, before he became vice president for Diversity and Inclusion in January 2007. “I am grateful to my many colleagues, from a number of different offices and divisions on campus, who worked hard to help with this application process.”

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education, announced 48 recipients of its first annual Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award. Winners of the HEED award — a national award honoring U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.