Committed to Diversity and Inclusion

September 03, 2020
by Jere W. Morehead, President

As renewed calls for racial justice ring out across our nation, the University of Georgia is working harder than ever to support these efforts. Embracing the values of diversity and inclusion remains critical to reaching the heights of excellence that we all desire for our great university. During my tenure as President, we have taken many steps together in this direction, but we all recognize that much more must be done on our campus and elsewhere. 

This academic year, UGA is adding to the many programs we have created to promote the success of faculty, staff, and students from underrepresented backgrounds. A series of discussions facilitated by the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development will help our campus community engage in open, thoughtful, and constructive dialogue around race and racism. A Task Force on Race, Ethnicity, and Community will examine these issues and develop concrete recommendations designed to foster a more welcoming and supportive learning environment for Black and other underrepresented students; elevate faculty, staff, and student recruitment and retention efforts; and expand training and leadership development opportunities. The Planning Committee on Diversity and Inclusive Excellence will cast a longer vision for the future, developing a comprehensive plan, with specific goals and measures of success, that builds on UGA’s most recent diversity plan, which was developed during my time as Provost. Finally, we will celebrate the 60th anniversary of desegregation at UGA through a series of meaningful programs and events that reflect on the experiences of Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Hamilton Holmes, the first Black students to enroll at UGA in 1961, and the experiences of other students of color since then.

I am proud that UGA was recently recognized, for the seventh consecutive year, with a Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award by INSIGHT Into Diversity. The HEED Award, the only national honor for colleges and universities that exhibit outstanding efforts and success in the area of diversity and inclusion, represents not only our progress but also our commitment to building on this foundation in the years ahead.