Avel Gordly presented Global Excellence Award at PSU Diversity Ceremony
Author: Scott Gallagher
Posted: May 12, 2011

(Portland, OR) – Portland State University (PSU) celebrated diversity on its campus at the 7th annual President’s Diversity Awards Ceremony.

"The Diversity awards recognize faculty, staff and students who serve as an example to others on campus, in their local communities, and beyond," said Wim Wiewel, president of PSU.

Avel Gordly was presented the Global Excellence Award by Jilma Meneses, chief diversity officer of PSU.

Gordly was visibly touched by the award. Meneses said that Gordly was "known for advocating civil rights. She's known for seeking social justice and peace locally and in many African nations. She's known as a tireless teacher educating all of us in Oregon and abroad that every human being has rights that need to be respected. But above all else, she is known as an example to us all."

Gordly was born in Portland and received her bachelor degree at PSU. Her career in public service began as a parole and probation officer for the Oregon Department of Corrections. She then went on to the Oregon House of Representatives and in 1996 she won a seat in the Senate. Her numerous humanitarian efforts include her work in many African nations, particularly in South Africa during apartheid, and serving Oregon as a leader and civil rights advocate. She is currently an associate professor in the Black Studies Department at PSU.

Meneses emphasized to a crowd of over 150 people the significance of celebrating diversity at PSU. "Diversity is a fundamental component of the university's identity," said Meneses. "It must be part of our goals, course work, learning outcomes, and overall culture if we want to achieve academic excellence."


PSU President’s Award Recipients
Cornel Pewewardy, Ph.D. (Faculty)
Sandy McDermott (Staff)
Gino Galvez (Graduate Student)
Robert Johnson (Undergraduate Student)

Commission on the Status of Women Essay Winner
Chido Dhliwayo (Undergraduate Student)

Annie Spencer Scholarship
Kristina Stricker (Undergraduate Student)
Gonzalo Soto Tapia (Undergraduate Student)
Seth McBride (Graduate Student)
Cathy Symes (Graduate Student)
Jerry Ryan (Graduate Student)

David and Linda Smeltzer Endowed Memorial Scholarship
Jerry Ryan (Graduate Student)

Global Excellence Award
Avel Gordly (Faculty)

About Portland State University (PSU)
Located in Portland, Oregon, PSU has about 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students. PSU's motto is "Let Knowledge Serve the City," and we provide every student with opportunities to work with businesses, schools and organizations on real-world projects. Our downtown campus exhibits PSU's commitment to sustainability with green buildings, while sustainability is incorporated into much of the curriculum.