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Suny Cortland Receives National Award For Progress In Campus Diversity

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SUNY Cortland’s been nationally recognized for the progress it has made in diversity, equity and inclusion.

The College was honored Wednesday for its evolution from a campus that was 95 percent white twenty years ago,, to a university where more than a quarter of all enrollees are now students of color.

As a result, Cortland received the 2019 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

It’s the first time Cortland has been honored with this award.

The university will now be featured among other winners in the magazine’s November 2019 issue.

“SUNY Cortland is honored to be recognized as a recipient of the HEED Award,” said James Felton III, the university’s chief diversity officer and director of the Institutional Equity and Inclusion Office. “This award demonstrates the university’s efforts to promote a more open and welcoming place for all, and the strong commitment that President Erik J. Bitterbaum has placed on diversity. It also acknowledges the many individuals on campus who work tirelessly to promote the success of all faculty, staff and students.”


The HEED Committee cited some of the most compelling reasons to the magazine’s judges:

  • The university’s longtime, annual student-run Diversity Conference, which last year drew hundreds of students from campuses across New York state and beyond.
  • The institution’s growing annual Kente Celebration marking campus diversity among graduating seniors. This year, more than 100 students were honored, the largest number ever.
  • The launch in July 2019 of a Kente Alumni Reunion program by the SUNY Cortland Alumni Association.
  • Outreach efforts of the association’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion subcommittee.
  • The School of Education’s C.U.R.E. Program preparing students to teach in urban or multicultural classrooms.
  • Creating an Applied Learning Practitioners initiative.
  • A host of study abroad/international awareness programs and initiatives.
  • Title IX/Green Dot training and educational programs to foster a safe and equitable campus experience.
  • An inaugural TRANsAction Day focused on gender identity and sexual orientation.
  • Conducting an Intergroup Dialogue Series on Diversity and Inclusion.
  • Conducting ongoing leadership workshops focused on diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • The Multicultural Male Initiative/Men of Color Student Leadership Conference.
  • The Wellness Wednesdays series covering the gamut of physical, mental and social wellbeing topics.

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