The University Record, March 26, 1996

Duderstadt honored for role in achieving equality in higher education

By Mary Jo Frank
University Relations

The Parity Committee, in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Education Office of Equity, honored President James J. Duderstadt for his commitment to diversity and achieving equality in higher education at its conference March 15­16 in Novi. The Parity Committee represents the state's 15 public universities and six independent colleges and universities.

photo of Equity Award At the ceremony where the first-time Equity Awards were presented to three individuals, Earl Nelson, director of the Office of Equity, said, "For all three persons, their fingerprints are all over the equity issues confronting us today." Also honored were Robert Atwell, president of the American Council on Education for 12 years, and Rep. Morris W. Hood Jr. (D-Detroit).

Engraved on the flame-shaped crystal award presented to Duderstadt are the words: "He spoke boldly, acted with conviction, and created a challenge for those who dared to follow. Thank you for furthering the dream of equity in higher education."

photo of President Duderstadt and Earl Nelson Praising Duderstadt for launching the Michigan Mandate in 1988 and the Michigan Agenda for Women in 1994, Nelson said that under Duderstadt's leadership, the U-M:

 

More than doubled the number of students of color, from 11 percent to 25 percent of enrollment.

 

Increased the retention rate of students of color to 70 percent.

 

Doubled the number of under represented assistant professors of color promoted to the rank of associate professor.

 

Nearly doubled the number of faculty of color in academic leadership and the number of administrators of color.

Duderstadt also has provided leadership, support and encouragement so that faculty and staff could develop and implement new programs related to students of color, Nelson said.

In accepting the award, Duderstadt said the U-M's diversity effort "on behalf of the people of the state of Michigan really has been carried forward by a great many people some extraordinary heroes, including Charles Moody, John Matlock and Lester Monts, hundreds of others on campus, and many of you off campus who have told us when we've done the right thing and when we've done the wrong thing."

Duderstadt said as the University has become more diverse, "every indicator is that our institution has become better."

"I think the University of Michigan is very visible and tangible evidence that the social commitments that our society has made to diversity over the last several decades as manifested in these institutions have brought them only greater excellence, greater capacity to serve and richer experiences for their students."