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May 17, 2023: Students, Staff and Faculty Recognized for Contributions to Inclusive Excellence

Group photo of the 2023 Inclusive Excellence Award recipients along with President Bolton and Dr. John Johnson.

Last year around this time, I was nearing the end of my first year as Whitman’s Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and had the honor of recognizing a number of faculty, staff and students for their service and contributions to diversity, equity, inclusion and antiracism. Faculty and staff awards were handed out in a small committee meeting and I was able to jump into the Student Affairs Leadership award ceremony to recognize some students who deserved to be acknowledged for their DEI-related leadership and service. This year, we stepped things up.

In the last year, we have been able to formalize our process for recognizing contributions to DEIA. There are numerous folks in our community who, with or without recognition, and in large and small ways, work to move us closer to inclusive excellence. We coordinated an open call for award nominations, designed a rubric to review and evaluate submissions and a subcommittee of the Inclusive Excellence Council selected the award recipients from more than fifty nominations. Last Thursday, May 11th, at the first Inclusive Excellence Awards and Recognition Ceremony, a number of students, staff and faculty were recognized for their inclusive excellence in teaching, leadership and service.

Detailed information about each of the awards can be found here. This year’s Inclusive Excellence Award recipients included:

Inclusive Excellence in Service

  • Sueli Gwiazdowski ’24 (student)
  • Nikki Brueggeman (staff)
  • Shampa Biswas (faculty)

Inclusive Excellence in Leadership - Individual

  • Katie Jose ’23 (student)
  • Baker Weilert (staff)

Inclusive Excellence in Teaching 

  • Kaitlyn Patia (faculty)
  • Lisa Uddin (faculty)

Prior to her departure last month, the Division presented former Associate Director of the Academic Resource Center, Antonia Keithahn, with an Inclusive Excellence Award for their leadership and service to the Whitman community. While they may no longer be with the College, the impact of their work remains. 

At last week’s recognition ceremony, we also acknowledged the recipients of the Mohammed Nasir Khan Award, Nord Award, and Class of 1986 award, along with several other special recognitions.

Nasir Khan Award 

  • Joy Nampaso

David Nord Award 

  • Ahmed Elsayed

Class of 1986 Award 

  • Devon Player
  • Marian Sandoval Lemus

A number of students were also recognized by the Division of Diversity and Inclusion for their unique contributions to the campus climate and advancement of inclusive excellence. Those students included:

  • Merry Cockroft ’24 for their leadership as the Executive Director for the Power and Privilege Symposium.
  • Gigi Peterson ’25 for their leadership as the elected Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Chair for Associated Students of Whitman College.
  • Tatiana Villegas ’23 for significant achievements in inclusive excellence through their club leadership and work with the Division of Diversity and Inclusion to contribute to the wellbeing of minoritized Whitman students.

Final Note: Staff in the Division of Diversity and Inclusion, by rule, are not eligible for Inclusive Excellence Awards, but they put the work in each day to help create a community at Whitman where people not only feel included and welcomed, but also valued and proud to be Blues! So special shout out and thank you to Natasha, Rachel, Cassandre, Tebraie, Greg, Adam and Quin.

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