BIG RAPIDS - Ferris State University's commitment to diversity recently was recognized by Minority Access, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to improving minority opportunities in the pursuit of higher education, professional and managerial goals. The annual award is presented to institutions that demonstrate a university-wide commitment to diversity through planning and programming.
Ferris' success in working toward the creation of a more diverse campus and community was saluted on two primary levels during the Minority Access Role Models Conference (Sept. 13 through 16) in Arlington, Va. Initiatives such as GEAR UP, a program largely designed to give underrepresented students a look at the value of a college education; international student festivals, which bring cultures together at Ferris; various orientation activities, and the Office of Multicultural Student Services are among the organizations or services that have helped enhance the academic, social and cultural experiences for minority students at Ferris.
"There is much work to be done, but this award suggests that we are moving in the direction of becoming a truly diverse institution," said David Pilgrim, Ferris' chief diversity officer, who accepted the award along with Leroy Wright, dean of students, and Todd Stanislav, who serves as director of the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning.
The University was recognized for its Martin Luther King Jr. week events and activities, the Disabilities Spring Ball and its aggressive recruitment activities like the Office of Multicultural Student Services-sponsored Student Life Bus Tour, a recruiting trip designed to expose young people in the Saginaw, Flint and Detroit areas to glimpses of what Ferris State University has to offer. Various mentoring programs such as the SCHOLAR program and the TIPS SCHOLARS office also were cited for their work as represented by the diversity planning committee and through the creation of a diversity planning document.