Students, faculty and staff honored by President’s Diversity Awards
Author: Christopher Broderick, PSU Communications
Posted: May 30, 2019

Portland State Acting President Stephen Percy and Interim Vice President of Global Diversity and Inclusion Michael Alexander presented diversity awards Thursday to recognize contributions and accomplishments across the university.

Theodore Van Alst, Jr.

The event speaker was Theodore Van Alst, Jr., associate professor and director of PSU’s Indigenous Nations Studies. He referenced a new study by a colleague at California State University Northridge that found that students of all ethnic backgrounds who take courses involving diverse perspectives statistically had a higher retention rate than students who did not take such courses.  They often become more engaged not only in their own history and culture but in other cultures as well.


Award winners include:

  • Distinguished Faculty: Javier Casado Perez, assistant professor, Counselor Education in the College of Education; Elena Aviles, assistant professor, Chicano/Latino Studies, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
  • Distinguished Staff: Eunice Makinde, diversity recruitment and retention specialist, School of Business; Perla Pinedo, director of retention programs, Diversity and Multicultural Student Services, Global Diversity and Inclusion.  
  • Distinguished Undergraduate: Kaila Fontenot, anthropology major, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.
  • Distinguished Graduate Student: Joy Mutare Fashu Kanu, Ph.D candidate in sociology, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.
  • Distinguished Alumnus: Warren Brown, president of North Seattle College.
  • Taiko Ensemble from PSU’s School of Music
  • Distinguished Team: Middle Eastern, North African, South Asian Initiative, Cultural Resource Centers.
  • Disability, Equity and Inclusion Exceptional Campus Partner award: David Brown, graduate teaching assistant, Maseeh Department of Mathematics and Statistics.
  • Exceptional Department award: Planning, Construction and Real Estate in Finance and Administration.
  • Commission on the Status of Women essay contest winners: Halla Williams, graduate student, and Jenna Richards, undergraduate.

Story by Christopher Broderick
Photos by Kurt Bedell
Pictured are Theodore Van Alst, Jr. (top) and the Taiko Ensemble from the PSU School of Music.