College Wins National Diversity Award

SUNY Oneonta received the 2014 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education, on Sept. 16. As a recipient of the annual HEED Award—a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion—SUNY Oneonta will be featured along with 82 other recipients in INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine’s November 2014 issue.

“It is an honor to receive recognition for our efforts to be inclusive and welcoming. We are fortunate that our college community attracts students, faculty and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds. This gives us unique opportunities to share, learn, and grow,” said SUNY Oneonta President Nancy Kleniewski. “The greatest reward for infusing diversity into the campus experience is the hope that our students will show one another greater empathy, know more of the struggles that shape us all, and go into the world prepared to meet challenges through strength of character.”

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine selected SUNY Oneonta based on the college’s exemplary diversity and inclusion initiatives, and ability to embrace a broad definition of diversity on campus, including gender, race, ethnicity, veterans, people with disabilities and members of the LGBT community.

“We hope the HEED award serves as a way to honor those institutions of higher education that recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion as part of their everyday campus culture,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

In 2010, SUNY Oneonta revised its mission, choosing diversity as one of six pillars supporting the college’s new strategic plan. This led to a variety of initiatives, including increased investment in the college’s Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, the reorganization of institutional efforts to ensure equity and inclusion under the leadership of Chief Diversity Officer Terrence Mitchell, who joined the college July 1, and implementation of the Anti-Defamation League’s “A Campus of Difference” diversity education program.

In 2012, the college established an annual Common Read and endowed lecture to infuse cultural literacy into the academic program by asking all incoming freshmen to read a diversity-themed book, which is then discussed across several disciplines. For its 2014 Common Read, the college has chosen “Persepolis,” by Iranian-born author, illustrator and film director Marjane Satrapi, who will deliver the Mills Distinguished Lecture at SUNY Oneonta on Oct. 29

SUNY Oneonta’s INSIGHT Into Diversity award was one of five given throughout the SUNY system. Two other campuses— Downstate Medical Center and SUNY Buffalo State—also received the HEED Award, and Carlos N. Medina, the SUNY system’s chief diversity officer and senior associate vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion, received the 2014 Diversity Visionary Award. SUNY System Administration also was honored for the third year in a row.

“Enhancing our diversity—among students, faculty, courses and programs—is at the core of all we do at SUNY, and behind each of our successes is Carlos Medina’s leadership,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “We are proud to see him honored for the third consecutive year by INSIGHT Into Diversity, and to see three of our campuses recognized for their commitment and leadership as well.”

For more information about the 2014 HEED award, visit

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