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Certificates, Scholarships Awarded at Annual Embracing Diversity Event

Certificate and Scholarship Recipients

October 6, 2017

Diversity and university may seem like etymological opposites at first, but they're actually one and the same, according to Usha Rodrigues, associate dean of faculty development in UGA's School of Law and keynote speaker at the annual Embracing Diversity event held Sept. 26 in the Chapel.

"For me, diversity and the concept of the university are inextricably tied together," Rodrigues said. "Although the words are antonyms, they must be synonyms, as well." 
Rodrigues pointed out that even though diversity means to turn to the side and university means turned into one, they share the common root of the Latin "vertere," or "to turn."

"We come from different faiths, different races, different gender identities, different disciplines," Rodrigues said. "We are a university. We turn the many into one."
Rodrigues said that another reason she associates the two words comes from her own experiences. As the daughter of south Asian immigrants, she felt she never quite fit in, with one exception. Her father taught American literature at Georgetown University, and Rodrigues went to the campus with him when she wasn't at school. The university environment proved to be the one place where she felt "perfectly at home" because of its diversity.

"We all diverge from each other in unique ways. Our challenge is to appreciate, to celebrate, to embrace this diversity and to make out of it one community," Rodrigues said.
The Embracing Diversity program celebrates the value of diversity and inclusion at UGA of people with backgrounds like Rodrigues'. The event also recognizes employees who completed requirements for the voluntary Diversity and Inclusion Certificate and presents scholarships to outstanding students.

"The power of diverse experiences, backgrounds, cultures and perspectives is evident in how we each contribute to the intellectual and educational enterprise here at UGA," said Michelle Garfield Cook, associate provost of the Office of Institutional Diversity and UGA's chief diversity officer. "It is important to acknowledge and appreciate the riches of this diversity. Our individual and collective outcomes of inclusive excellence are very important to this institution."

UGA President Jere W. Morehead echoed those sentiments, saying that UGA is "a place where our experiences and backgrounds should unite us.

"Each of you plays a key role in advancing these ideals, and, together, I think we are making significant progress," Morehead said. "Working together with a sustained effort, we can continue to cultivate the kind of intellectual climate at the University of Georgia where the values of inclusion, diversity of thought and freedom of speech are reflected in all of our endeavors."

More than 70 UGA employees were recognized for earning the UGA Diversity and Inclusion Certificate. A partnership of the Office of Institutional Diversity, the Training and Career Development Center and other diversity-related offices and programs at UGA, the certificate is presented to UGA employees who voluntarily completed six courses covering a variety of diversity-related areas.

The 2017 certificate recipients are

• Siara Abdulla, Development and Alumni Relations;
• Samantha Adair, Student Affairs
• Lydia Aletraris, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences
• Carol Alexander, Student Affairs;
• Sara Elizabeth Bailey, Legal Affairs;
• Kathy Bangle, Development and Alumni Relations;
• Elizabeth Beckett, Development and Alumni Relations;
• Jenna Bell, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences;
• Emmie Bennett, Student Affairs;
• Cindy Bond, Development and Alumni Relations;
• Julia Butler-Mayes, College of Education;
• Michelle Carter, Development and Alumni Relations;
• Julie Cheney, Development and Alumni Relations;
• Derek Clark, Development and Alumni Relations;
• Callie Cole, College of Education; 
• Julie Cook, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; 
• Victoria Cooper, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication; 
• Maxine Cottrell, Office of Instruction; 
• Natalie Cox, Legal Affairs; 
• Emily Czaplinski, Development and Alumni Relations; 
• Victoria David, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; 
• Kate deDufour, Warnell School of Forestry; 
• Carla Dennis, Student Affairs;
• Sarah Ehlers, School of Law; 
• Casey Emmett, Office of Instruction; 
• Asheley Faris, Carl Vinson Institute of Government; 
• Holly Getchell, Development and Alumni Relations; 
• Ann Gibson, Student Affairs; 
• Krystal Gongora, Student Affairs; 
• David Griffin, Finance and Administration; 
• Christopher Gurtcheff, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences; 
• Scarlett Hart, Development and Alumni Relations; 
• Laura Hix, Development and Alumni Relations; 
• Ian Horvat, Athletic Association; 
• Jenna Jackson, School of Law;
• Aveana Jackson, Office of Instruction;
•  Julianna Jeffers, Athletic Association; 
• Chris Jefts, Development and Alumni Relations; 
• Meredith Johnson, Development and Alumni Relations; 
• Tamaine Jordan, Office of Instruction;
• Marta Kelleher, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences; 
• Melissa Leizear, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences; 
• Thomas Leizear, Student Affairs; 
• Barrett Malone, Student Affairs; 
• Teresa McClure, College of Education;
• Brooks McCommons, Development and Alumni Relations; 
• Heather McCormick, Development and Alumni Relations;
• Geraldine McGuire, Office of Research; 
• Leah Melnik, College of Education; 
• Bethany Mills, Development and Alumni Relations; 
• Jacquelyn Mitchell, Student Affairs; 
• Zachary Morris, Finance and Administration; 
• Narke Norton, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; 
• Kristi Ogletree, College of Education; 
• Mumbi Okundaye, College of Public Health; 
• Endia Sowers Paige, School of Law; 
• Andrea Parris, Development and Alumni Relations; 
• C. Brandon Patten, Development and Alumni Relations; 
• Veronica Pennington, College of Veterinary Medicine; 
• Jeremy Ransom, Development and Alumni Relations; 
• Lindsay Smith, Legal Affairs; 
• Tony Stringer, Development and Alumni Relations; 
• Jay Stroman, Development and Alumni Relations;
• Naseem Tate, Legal Affairs; 
• Evan Tighe, Development and Alumni Relations; 
• Nakia Wade, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences; 
• Susan Wells, Legal Affairs; 
• Kacy Welsh-Morris, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences; 
• Keith Wenrich, Student Affairs; 
• Victoria Whitaker, Student Affairs; 
• Will Willimon, Development and Alumni Relations; 
• Katherine Wilson, University Libraries; 
• Xiaonan Xie, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences; 
• Delaney Yox, Office of the Dean of Students; 
• Prisca Zaccaria, Development and Alumni Relations; and
• Jennifer Ziegenfuss, Legal Affairs.