President's Commission honors individuals who enhance diversity

Contact: Allison Matthews

STARKVILLE, Miss.--The President's Commission on the Status of Minorities will recognize several individuals who demonstrate a significant commitment to enhancing diversity at Mississippi State during a public ceremony Friday [Feb. 17] at 2 p.m.

The MSU Diversity Awards Ceremony will be held in the Shackouls Honors College Forum Room in Griffis Hall. Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman will be the guest speaker.

Each honoree was selected because of their role in "promoting the concept of diversity and improved cross-cultural understanding through their activities and positive interactions with others in the campus setting," said Adrienne R. Morris, commission chair.

The 2012 MSU Diversity Award honorees include:

--P. Edward French, faculty award. An associate professor and graduate coordinator in the department of political science and public administration, French also holds the title of Stennis Scholar for Local Government with the John C. Stennis Institute of Government.

--Cedric Gathings, staff award. Currently serving as assistant director of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, Gathings advises the university's three Greek councils, and administers more than 20 individual fraternities and sororities with member recruitment, academic integrity, community service initiatives, educational programming, and chapter guidelines.

--Karin Lee, staff award. Presently serving as manager of graduate programs, Lee has been involved in campus and community activities, including serving as campus liaison for the World Neighbors Association and as an organizer of the International Fiesta. She has been committed to the Starkville Multi-Culture Lions Club, and to helping international staff and students.

--Ademola Oladunjoye, student award. A graduate student studying food science nutrition and health promotion, Oladunjoye has served as director of international student affairs for the Student Association, as well as a peer counselor with the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center. In 2011, he was named International Student of the Year.

--Peer Counselor and Ambassador Program, team award. Established under the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center to contend with the low retention rates of first-year African American students, the Peer Counselor and Ambassador Program has now expanded to not only focus on African American students but to increase retention and graduation rates of all MSU students. The Peer Counselors and Ambassadors assist freshman and transfer students by offering opportunities for building personal connections with faculty and staff, assisting students in developing strong study skills and utilizing campus resources.

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