University of Texas at Dallas: UTD Recognizes Champions of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion at Event

The University of Texas at Dallas celebrated students, faculty, staff and community partners who have helped advance its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion at its 13th annual Diversity Awards Honoree Dinner.

The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion held the event, whose theme was “Shining the Light: Promoting Inclusion through Unity,” on June 9 at the Davidson-Gundy Alumni Center. Alicia Makaye PhD’12, CEO and president of Richardson-based information technology services company GXA and a member of UT Dallas’ Diversity Advisory Council, served as the host of the ceremony, which also included music from the Jazz Bytes.

Dr. Yvette E. Pearson, vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, thanked the honorees for their service.

“We cannot accomplish our goals without the contributions and efforts of all the champions of diversity who help make UT Dallas an equitable, inclusive and welcoming campus,” Pearson said.

Josue Fonseca BS’22, a Terry Scholar who earned a degree in healthcare studies, received the student award for his service as an ambassador for the Joint Admission Medical Program offered through UTD’s Health Professions Advising Center. Fonseca also served as a student delegate for the Center for U.S.-Latin America Initiatives and volunteered as a Spanish translator at a free community medical clinic.

Fonseca, who plans to attend UT Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine with the goal of serving the refugee and immigrant population near the U.S.-Mexico border, thanked UT Dallas for the honor and for giving him a place where he felt at home.

“I was able to come to UTD through the Terry Scholars program and find a home here, realize who I am as a person and what I want to do in life,” Fonseca said.

Other honorees included Capital One, which has provided volunteer and financial support to UTD’s Young Women in Science and Engineering Investigators Program and Women Mentoring Women in Engineering student organization.

Event sponsors included AT&T and Vanessa and Clark Randall. UT Dallas first presented the diversity awards in 2010 to recognize the accomplishments of champions of UTD’s diversity mission, goals and programs. The office was established in 2007 and oversees a range of programs to promote diversity, including the Galerstein Gender Center, the Multicultural Center, the Department of Community Engagement and the Department of Institutional Diversity Initiatives.

Rosie Peterson, director of institutional diversity initiatives, thanked attendees and sponsors for their continued support of the event, which had been held online during the pandemic.

“We are excited to present the diversity awards in person this year and to have an opportunity to celebrate with the entire campus and the various cultures within the UT Dallas community,” Peterson said.