Inclusive Excellence news

Rethinking Race - Keynote speaker Melissa Harris-Perry - Rescheduled for Monday, April 13, 2015

Join us at EJ Thomas Center for Performing Arts on Monday, April 13, 2015, at 7:30 p.m. for the Melissa Harris-Perry presentation as part of the 2015 Rethinking Race: Black, White and Beyond Forum. 

Click here to read more information. Click here for tickets.

Lee Gill appointed to Hospital Board

February 2015

Lee Gill, J.D., associate vice president for inclusion and equality and chief diversity officer at UA, is among the individuals most recently appointed to the Akron General Medical Center Board.

“Through my board appointment I am pleased to support Akron General, an institution with a long-standing mission of improving the health of our community,” says Gill, who joined UA in 2008. “The University of Akron and Akron General are deeply involved in improving lives and this appointment provides new opportunities to create meaningful synergies leading to positive outcomes for our community.”

Lee Gill’s diversity achievements recognized nationally

July 2014

For his vision, dedication and commitment to diversity and inclusion, Lee Gill will receive the National Diversity Visionary Award from Insight Into Diversity magazine. The award is presented annually to those who have made significant past and present contributions to diversity in higher education.

Gill has been the associate vice president for inclusion and equity, and chief diversity officer since 2008. In that time, he has developed mentoring programs, workshops and seminars that have raised cultural awareness, expanded cultural competencies and brought about a greater understanding of differences in people.

Gill's efforts have been acknowledged by The National Association of Diversity Councils, the Executive Director of White House Initiatives on Educational Excellence for African Americans (David Johns), the Ohio Diversity Officers Collaboration, the Advisory Board of the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education, and more.

"It is indeed an honor to be selected as a recipient of this award, and I am humbled by this recognition," Gill says. 

He shares credit for the honor with those who have influenced him.

"Though I was selected, it was driven by the many successful initiatives in place here at The University of Akron, thanks to a lot of good people. Equally as important, it is also a testament to the many mentors I have had and the impact of their teachable moments on my growth."

Lee Gill named to Akron Urban League Board

June 6, 2014

The Akron Urban League announced the addition of two members to its 2014-2015 Board of Trustees at its 89th annual meeting and scholarship luncheon. They are Lee A. Gill, J.D., UA's associate vice president for inclusion and equity/chief diversity officer at the University of Akron, and Robert Chess, vice president of human resources at ACRT, Inc.

"Having been a long supporter of the Urban League's mission of empowering communities and changing lives, it is truly an honor to represent the University on its Board of Directors," says Gill, who joined UA in 2008. "As a key institution in this community, our UA leadership is well aware that our success is intertwined with the success of the city of Akron, and this is yet another opportunity for us to demonstrate our community commitment." 

Established in 1925, the Akron Urban League provides programs and services that emphasize education, job training and entrepreneurship to help area residents to become self-sufficient. The Akron Urban League is one of more than 100 affiliates of the National Urban League.


Akron Law Professor Marty Belsky and UA Vice President Lee Gill featured in program remembering Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Heschel

On Sunday, January 12, 2014, Akron Law Professor Martin H. Belsky and Lee A. Gill, co-chairs of the University of Akron’s Diversity Council were featured in a program entitled, “Praying With Their Feet: Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. & Dr. Abraham Joshua Heschel.” The program celebrated the lives, visions and teachings of Heschel and King with the hope of encouraging those in attendance to work toward social justice. “One of the most remarkable things about both [King and Heschel] is that they trusted in people to do the right thing and understood that to attain justice, they had to convince the majority to accept the minority,” says Belsky. “Once you get to a common core of understanding and an acceptance of one another — once you can humanize the other — you’re halfway there. This program is a way to build understanding.”

For more information, click here.


Finding Common Ground:  Making the case for a Systematic Approach to Multicultural Education

Lee A. Gill, J.D., associate vice president for inclusion and equity and chief diversity officer, authored an Insight Into Diversity Magazine article on taking a systematic approach to multicultural education. Read article here.  


For a third year, University's Diversity Council singled out as one of nation's best

UA's Diversity Council has been honored by the National Association of Diversity Councils for its "extraordinary efforts and results" in advancing inclusive excellence principles on campus.

UA was the only university nationally to be presented with the association's Heart & Hustle Award. Only one other nonprofit was singled out for the honor. Read article here.  


UA again wins national excellence in diversity award

HEED Award 2013For the second straight year, UA has received the 2013 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award (HEED) as reported in the November 2013 issue of Insight into Diversity Magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

UA wins national excellence in diversity award


HEED Award LogoDemonstrating “an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion,” The University of Akron was among a select group of colleges and universities to receive the first-ever Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award from INSIGHT into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

In its December issue, the magazine explained that “it is not enough for these institutions to create a diverse environment—they need to strive to create an inclusive one as well so that everyone feels welcome and engaged in day-to-day campus life.” 

Magazine publishers established the competitive application process this year to honor college campuses that “are getting it right." 

Everyone on a campus needs role models and mentors and to be able to associate with others who share the same backgrounds and values they do—that’s the inclusive side of the equation,” according to publisher Holly Mendelson. 

The magazine noted that diversity includes race, ethnicity, gender, age, veteran status, people from LGBT communities, people with disabilities and other areas of human diversity.

Forty-eight institutions of higher education were bestowed the 2012 HEED award, including three in the state of Ohio: The University of Akron, Case Western Reserve University, and University of Cincinnati.


For a second time, UA's Diversity Council ranked in nation's top 25

2012 Diversity Council Award LogoJuly 2012 — For the second consecutive year, UA's Diversity Council has been selected as one of the top 25 diversity councils in the nation. The honor comes from the Association of Diversity Councils, a resource for diversity and inclusion council professionals.

"This year's honor is a testament to the continued efforts and commitment of UA administration, faculty, staff and community leaders to establish diversity and inclusion as a core value," says Lee Gill, associate vice president of inclusion and equity and chief diversity officer. "We are definitely moving in the right direction!" Full story.

Commission 50 Recognition

December 2012

Members of the Commission 50 are recognized annually for progress in creating, enhancing and sustaining their diversity and inclusion strategies. This recognition is based on their responses to the Commission on Economic Inclusion’s annual Employers Survey on Diversity™. Their scores are tabulated based on four metrics:

  • Board Diversity

  • Senior Management Diversity

  • Workforce Diversity

  • Supplier Diversity

The organizations are ranked by each of the four metrics, and the rankings are combined to produce a final score. The 50 Commission-member organizations (25 for profit, 25 nonprofit/government) with the highest combined scores receive this distinguished designation. We are pleased to announce that The University of Akron has been selected as one of the 2012 honorees.  Congratulations on this achievement.  

Commission 50 Award Logo

Diversity chief to help lead national forum on race

The University of Akron

Lee Gill

April 2012 — Lee A. Gill, J.D., associate vice president of inclusion and equity and chief diversity officer, has been appointed co-chair of the program committee for the National Conference for Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education. He will begin his tenure at the NCORE National Conference in June in New York City.

The NCORE conference series, begun in 1988 by The Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies at Oklahoma University, constitutes the leading and most comprehensive national forum on issues of race and ethnicity in American higher education. The conference focuses on the complex task of creating and sustaining comprehensive institutional change designed to improve racial and ethnic relations on campus and to expand opportunities for educational access and success by culturally diverse, traditionally underrepresented populations.

Gill also is president of the Ohio Chief Diversity Officers Collaboration and has served on the National Advisory Board of NCORE since 2010.

UA students tour MLK National Memorial ahead of opening

UA students at MLK Jr. MemorialNovember 2011 — Thirty-six University of Akron students traveled to the nation's capital for a guided tour of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial days before it opened officially in 2011.

Lee A. Gill, UA's associate vice president for inclusion and equity and chief diversity officer and a member of the MLK Memorial design review and construction team, coordinated the trip.

Their first stop was the four-acre memorial, which conveys four themes from King's life – democracy, justice, hope and love. A wall inscribed with excerpts of his sermons, writings and speeches leads to the centerpiece of the memorial, the "Stone of Hope," which features a 30-foot likeness of King. This concept is based on King’s "I Have a Dream" speech, in which he said, "Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope." Memorial visitors pass through the "Mountain of Despair" before arriving at the "Stone of Hope."

UA's Diversity Council among top 25 in nation 

February 2011

UA has one of the best 25 diversity councils in the nation.

The University of Akron
At the 2011 awards ceremony in Atlanta are, from left, presenter Janice Bowman, practice leader of the association; Lee Gill, associate vice president for inclusion & equity/chief diversity officer; Dr. Ramona Ortega-Liston, associate professor of public administration and urban studies; Dr. Sheldon B. Wrice, Chair of the Department of Associate Studies in Summit College; and Dr. Julie Yuhua Zhao, director of the Increasing Diversity in Engineering Academics (IDEAS) Program in the College of Engineering.

Joining UA on the elite list are such major corporations as Best Buy, Boeing, Prudential, American Airlines and Siemens. UA is the only university to make the list.

The list was compiled by the Association of Diversity Councils from applications submitted by corporations, governmental agencies and universities nationwide.

Lee Gill, UA's associate vice president for inclusion and equity/chief diversity officer, said the University was selected because of the concrete steps it has taken to move toward being a more inclusive campus.

"I'm told that two points stood out in our application," Gill said. "First, our council is comprised of decision-makers from across campus and the Akron community, which demonstrates a strong commitment by the administration. Second, the strategic plan for the Office of Inclusion and Equity is comprehensive and unusual in its reach and its depth."

Appointed by President Proenza in December 2008, the council — led by Gill and Marty Belsky, dean of the School of Law — is at the core of the strategic plan.

Early on, the council recommended that additional academic advisers were needed to increase the retention and graduation rates of students from underrepresented populations. The Office of Academic Affairs acted on the recommendation, and a number of new advisers have been hired.

The council also initiated the first Greater Akron Supplier Diversity Conference in May 2010. Relationships established during the conference — sponsored by UA, KSU, the city, Summa Health System, Bridgestone/Firestone and others — will help ensure that UA continues to purchase products and services from diverse suppliers. 

UA and the other 24 organizations on the Association of Diversity Councils' list of the top diversity councils were honored at an April ceremony in Atlanta.  (February 2011; updated November 2011) 

Knight grant to help black male students 'rise to the occasion' at UA

The University of Akron will work to increase the recruitment, retention and graduation rates of black male students, with a $425,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Learn more.

Gill to lead Ohio Diversity Officers' Collaboration

Lee A. Gill, J.D., associate vice president and chief diversity officer, has been elected president of the Ohio Diversity Officers' Collaboration (ODOC) at its annual conference held July 22, 2011, at Ohio University. July 2011

ODOC is the principal organization of diversity officers and multicultural specialists at Ohio institutions of higher education. The organization was established in response to the growing need for higher education to leverage and maximize investments in diversity initiatives, provide opportunities for cross-institutional exchange, benchmarking and metrics development, and enhancing experiential standards among diversity professionals. 

Gill, who joined UA in March 2008, will oversee the continued expansion and development of the organization. His major focus for the coming year will be to increase collaborations between the University System of Ohio institutions and developing strategies to improve retention and graduation rates among underrepresented student populations statewide. 

'Diverse Issues In Higher Education' features Dr. Luis Proenza

Dr. Luis Proenza

UA President Dr. Luis Proenza (left) is profiled in the March 2010 issue of Diverse Issues in Higher Education.

Lee A. Gill, J.D., named to State and National Advisory Organizations

The University of Akron

Lee Gill, J.D.

April 2010 — Lee Gill was recently named first vice president of the Ohio Diversity Officers Collaborative(ODOC), and will begin serving as its president in June 2011. The ODOC is the principal organization of diversity officers at Ohio institutions of higher education. 

Gill was also selected as a member of the >NCORE National Advisory Committee, (National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education).  His appointment is for three years, beginning immediately as a non-voting ex-officio member, with a full membership term beginning at the end of NCORE 2010 (June 2010) and ending in June 2013.

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