Leaders in inclusiveness chosen for President’s Diversity Awards

Members of faculty, staff, student communities to be honored at reception
By Staff

The University of Colorado President’s Diversity Award recipients and commendation recipients have been selected for academic year 2016.

The award provides recognition to a student, a faculty member, a staff member and an academic or administrative unit for their outstanding contributions to diversity and inclusion. Award recipients will receive a monetary award of $2,000.

The recognition for the recipients will be at 2:30 p.m. Friday, April 29, at 1800 Grant St. All members of the university community are welcome to attend. For event details and registration, please click here.

The 2016 President’s Diversity Award recipients are:

Student Award

William Mundo, undergraduate student, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), CU Denver
William Mundo is an active member of the CU Denver community who has contributed to enhancing campus diversity via student leadership. His roles include membership on Student Government Association and CLAS committees, as well as campus club participation. Most notably, he served as a student representative for the Council on Diversity and Inclusion, which was composed largely of faculty and staff. He’s credited with aiding in the support of students with diverse identities, international students, mentorship and retention efforts. CU Denver accolades earned by Mundo include: the 2014 Student Leader of the Year; the Rosa Parks Diversity Award; and the Cesar Peace and Justice Leadership Award.

Faculty Award

Donna L. Parrish, assistant professor, The Kempe Center, CU Anschutz Medical Campus
Through her work in the Kempe Center at CU Anschutz and in the community, Donna L. Parrish strives to help racially and ethnically diverse children in child protective systems of Colorado. In her nomination, Parrish is noted to have committed more than two decades of service in “raising awareness and generating solutions concerning disproportionality and disparities in child-serving systems.” A critical effort developed by her is the Roots of Change Hair-A-Thon. Under her leadership, the program partners with community businesses and organizations to offer haircuts, hairstyling and hair care education to participants, all of whom are in child foster care. The program provides the children free access to culturally relevant skin- and hair-care resources, since many of the youth do not reside in a community that can provide sufficient culturally appropriate cosmetology and/or barber services. In 2015, the Kempe Center and the Mykal Grant Salon partnered with the Colorado Office of Children, Youth and Families, Denver Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children and Denver Department of Human Services, to name a few. Through the years, the program has expanded from 10 participants to over 40; Parrish and her team aim to double its outreach in 2016.

Staff Award

David Aragon, executive director, Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement, CU-Boulder
For 25 years, David Aragon has served as a CU-Boulder staff member dedicated to the university and its diversity efforts. His commitment to inclusive excellence involves building networks and collaborations across the campus such as the CU LEAD Alliance, a network of 12 academic learning communities whose students, faculty and staff are united to promote diversity, learning and student success. He has helped to launch programs such as the I Have a Dream Foundation of Boulder County Summer Internship Program on the Boulder campus, the Crowley Foundation Boys2MEN Leadership Summit and the Vamos Bufalos outreach in Colorado Springs and Pueblo. He has partnered with alumni and donors, companies and nonprofit organizations to secure CU students with opportunities in regard to scholarships, and internships and employment. One example nationally is the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME).  Aragon’s colleagues note that his efforts to advance diversity go well beyond his regular responsibilities because of his extensive work throughout the community.

Unit Award

Office of Veteran and Military Student Affairs, UCCS
The Office of Veteran and Military Student Affairs (OVMSA) has helped the UCCS campus become increasingly accommodating for student veterans. The OVMSA has participated in a CU systemwide effort, Veterans Education Training and Support (V.E.T.S.), to raise awareness and give context to those providing educational opportunities for student veterans as diverse members of the university community. More than 300 faculty and staff have participated. Some of the office’s initiatives include the Digital Veteran Stories Project, a podcast project documenting student veterans’ experiences; the V.E.T.S. training program, which is available in the CU employee training resource, SkillSoft; and the CU system cultural diversity video series “A Place for You at CU.” Staff members of the OVMSA, Phillip Morris and Heather Kling, were recipients of a 2014 CU Diversity and Excellence Grant titled, “Creative Collaborations: Utilizing peer mentoring to improve student-veteran college adjustment and success.”


  • Arthur Antoine, graduate student, College of Engineering and Applied Science, CU-Boulder
  • Ben Shapiro, assistant professor, ATLAS Institute, CU-Boulder
  • Vanessa R. Roman, assistant director, Office of Admissions, CU-Boulder
  • Student Academic Success Center, CU-Boulder
  • Pathways to Excellence in Media and Communication, CU-Boulder