Gala Celebrates Champions of Campus Diversity

The Office of Diversity and Community Engagement hosted its first Diversity Awards Gala and Scholarship Fundraiser on April 17 at the Student Union Galaxy Rooms.

University of Texas at Dallas President David Daniel welcomed the crowd to the University, noting that “college is a golden opportunity to introduce people to diverse ideas.”

Lisa Cortes, executive producer of the film Precious, was the event’s keynote speaker. Cortes spoke of her career progression, of rebuilding her personal and professional life after bitter disappointment, and of what Precious taught her.

“From the movie, I learned courage in the face of hopelessness and purpose when one is taught to be worthless,” she said.

After Cortes’ talk, the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement presented its inaugural awards. Categories and honorees included:

The Verizon Foundation and the Texas Instruments Women’s Initiative also were recognized as corporate diversity partners. The LGBT Education, Engagement and Programming (LEEP) initiative also was recognized for its work on campus.

Gala co-sponsors included Rockwell Collins, Lennox International and numerous University departments.

Proceeds benefited the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement’s Diversity Scholarship Program to increase diversity and excellence at UT Dallas.

Funds raised from this event will assist underrepresented students, including women pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and math fields. Students with records of academic merit, demonstrated financial need and the potential to increase the diversity of the student body will receive priority for these scholarship funds.

“I thank everyone who attended our first Diversity Gala,” said Dr. Magaly Spector, vice president for diversity and community engagement. “It is very important for UT Dallas to recognize the contributions to diversity from our students, staff, faculty and community partners. I envision that this event will be an annual diversity celebration and will become a tradition in our institution.

“This scholarship fundraiser further enables us to help deserving, high-potential diverse students continue their education at UT Dallas.”

For more information on giving to Office of Diversity and Community Engagement scholarships, call 972-883-4566.

Above:  Lisa Cortes, an executive producer for the film Precious, delivered the keynote address at the gala.

Below: Award winners pose with Dr. Magaly Spector, vice president for diversity and community engagement; and Dr. David E. Daniel, president of The University of Texas at Dallas.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].