I would like to begin this newsletter with a message to the graduating class of 2022:
You have accomplished something that few graduating classes have done: You have survived numerous obstacles that could have derailed your academic progress towards this very moment. You have navigated a global pandemic, online classes, and the confusion of the movement to in-person classes and back to virtual ones. Your ability to thrive under all these obstacles is impressive and commendable.
Over the past few days, I was excited to witness the many wonderful graduation traditions that are part of the culture and identity here at UNC. For many of our first-generation students who hold these identities, we applaud the accomplishments you have made and will continue to make.
Congratulations to all of our students on a job well done. And let us not forget those who have provided support for them on this journey – faculty, staff, family, friends, and many others. A graduate is the work of many hands.
As we celebrate the end of the semester, we also need to remember to recognize the special cultural celebrations of the month of May. This includes the accomplishments of our friends, family members and colleagues from the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. This year the theme is “Advancing Leaders through Collaboration.” It is a time to not only debunk the myths that surround the Asian community but to celebrate the culture and its diversity.
This month is also Jewish American Heritage month, declared by President George W. Bush in 2006, which recognized the contributions of Jewish Americans to the United States’ culture, history, science, education, the military and much more.
As we take the time to celebrate the multiple contributions by AAPI and Jewish members of our community, we want to also recognize members of our campus who were nominated and selected as Diversity Award Winners by the University Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Our winners are Christopher Riddick (Alumni), Chancellor’s Science Scholars (Intergroup Collaboration), Trenette Goings and Michal Osterweil (Faculty-TIE), Kim Allen and Trinnette Cooper (Staff-TIE), Tayliz Rodriguez (Graduate/PostDoc/Professional Student) and Grace Stevens (Undergraduate).
I want to thank everyone for their hard work, dedication, and engagement in the sometimes difficult work related to DEI. I am happy to know that so many members of our campus community are working toward change and are partners as we work across the institution to create a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable place, where all feel a sense of belonging.
Finally, I’m happy to announce that the University Office for Diversity and Inclusion has updated its website with a fresh look, new branding, more interactive search options, and easier navigability. Please visit and learn more about the inclusive programming, events, and achievements of the Carolina community.
Leah Cox, PhD
Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion/
Chief Diversity Officer
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