3rd Annual ODI Honors Reception

ODI Honors Reception










Valerie Lee, vice provost for Diversity and Inclusion, vice president for Outreach and Engagement, and chief diversity officer, welcomed over a hundred faculty, staff and students to the 3rd Annual ODI Honors Reception on Tuesday, April 7, 2015. This annual reception celebrates student and staff excellence and awards several annual ODI scholarship and achievement awards for student and faculty research and education abroad. Attendees included staff members from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, along with student and staff awardees from around campus.

Dr. Lee introduced Professor Sharon L. Davies, Director of the Kirwan Institute and the Gregory H. Williams Chair in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in the Moritz College of Law, who will add Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer to her title upon Dr. Lee’s retirement on June 30th.  In her remarks, Professor Davies stated that lending the knowledge and research of the Kirwan Institute to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion would create an unprecedented combination when the two join forces in the coming year.

Among the other highlights of the afternoon was the presentation of the Undergraduate Education Abroad Awards. Nearly 50 students received education abroad scholarships this year, all generously funded by private donors, including Who’s Who in Black Columbus, alumni Ray Bonds, Kathleen and Charles Rumfola, former students Brandon Smith and Howard Patton through the Smith+Patton Study Abroad Scholarship, and more. There was also a special education abroad scholarship awarded in honor of the late Professor Charles Hancock, former director of the Young Scholars Program.

Shelby Clutter and Martín Pérez – two of the 13 students who travelled over Spring Break for ODI’s Higher Education in Brazil – took the stage to describe the experience of travelling abroad, which for many students was their first time outside of the United States or even on a plane. The program allowed the students to experience the Brazilian culture and also to acquire an understanding of how race, socioeconomic status, and gender impact educational opportunities for Afro-Brazilian youth

Along with the education abroad scholarships, ODI also present seventeen grants for Student Research and five Faculty Research grants. These grants will support research and attendance at conferences that focus an interdisciplinary exploration of such topics as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.

Additional honors went to select ODI unit student employees who demonstrated excellence in academics, service, resiliency, leadership and promotion of diversity and marked the third annual presentation of the Ruth C. Bailey Award for Multicultural Engagement, established by alumnus Vincenzo Ferranti in honor of his beloved mentor.  This year the Bailey Award had two recipients: Annabelle Estera, Intercultural Specialist in the Student Life Multicultural Center, and Jane Palmer, Program Manager for Undergraduate Programs in the Fisher College of Business. The Leona Smith Undergraduate Leadership Award, established by Aya Fubara Eneli to honor Hale Center employee and mentor Lee Smith, was presented to Mariah Willis and Sarah Tchokouani, who will use the funds to attend the 2015 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders in Maryland. 

The reception came to a close with a drum roll and grand finale for this year’s ODI Distinguished Staff Awards, which were presented to Tonya Smith, office associate for the Young Scholars Program, and Ron Parker, program manager for the Hale Black Cultural Center.

For a full list of awardees, click here.

2015 LASER Unit Honoree