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2016 James E. Bostic Jr. Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Award Winner

The Chief Diversity Office established the Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Award to recognize faculty, staff and students for displaying an exceptional commitment to fostering an environment in which diversity is understood, valued, respected and appreciated.

This award is presented annually to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to creating an inclusive and welcoming community at Clemson University by implementing an initiative in the classroom, workplace or campus community that fosters relationships that advance acceptance, appreciation, respect, diversity and inclusive excellence.

The award includes this beautiful vase and a $1,000 cash award.

Dr. Rhondda Thomas, the first James E. Bostic Jr. Diversity and Inclusiong Excellence Award winner at Clemson University, Clemson SC

The nomination of this year’s recipient included the following:

  • She integrates her scholarship, teaching and service in a unique and robust fashion that not only promotes equity and inclusion, but also serves as a visible and powerful model for how to do so effectively within our community.
  • She directs her teaching, scholarship and service to ensure that the story of Clemson University is historically complete, and includes the contributions of many individuals heretofore omitted from our institutional narrative.
  • Through her leadership role with the inaugural Race and the University program, she helped craft a very full, well-attended, diverse format of programs of interest to faculty, staff, students and local community members. This was a time-consuming labor of love.
  • She has been a driving force behind a collaborative team with the support of Dr. Jim Bostic and various university departments to recognize African-American heritage sites on campus. The team has already prepared designs for three State of South Carolina historical markers to be located on campus.
  • She conducted an African-American heritage tour of campus for President Clements in the fall of 2014. She also toured mid-Atlantic historical sites and universities to share information on the African-American heritage stewardship. She allowed a wide audience to follow her on this tour via social media.
  • Particularly notable to me in my work with her is her highly-refined professional approach that steers her away from parochial demands to reform campus and its citizens via political or ideological revolution. Rather, she works with a broad cross-section of campus, maintaining an intent pragmatic focus on and passion for historical accuracy and the powerful art of story-telling as a means that must and will lead to such reforms via inexorable intellectual evolution.
  • Her work has provided a model for effective service, scholarship and education that can drive those metered changes, which are critical to achieving inclusive excellence.

The recipient of the inaugural James E. Bostic Jr. Award for Diversity and Inclusive Excellence is Dr. Rhondda Thomas.