Webster University took a moment last week to recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion at a special event for faculty, staff, administrators and community partners.
President Beth Stroble and Provost Julian Schuster spoke on the theme of “Access to Education: Creating a Diverse and Inclusive Community for a Stronger World,” using the occasion to update the community on diversity initiatives and congratulate those whose work has helped advance diversity and inclusion at Webster.
The Nov. 5 event was an opportunity to formally introduce to the community Nicole Roach, recently named the University’s first associate vice president for Diversity and Inclusion and senior director for Community Engagement.
Attendees also congratulated Webster freshman Olivia Perez, recipient of the first ever Webster University Dr. Donald M. Suggs Scholarship. Perez was in attendance with her family. (A video of Perez and her family reflecting on the scholarship is embedded above or viewable on Webster’s YouTube channel here.)
Diversity and Inclusion at Webster: Access to Education, Pathway to Success
With an internationally diverse student body across its worldwide network of campuses, and third-party recognition for its access to students across a broad economic spectrum, Webster University is indeed a place where “diversity comes naturally.” But the evolving definition of “diversity” — spanning background, ethnicity, abilities, academic programs, economic capacity and more — requires constant adaptation to ensure this value remains an integral part of the University’s fabric.
Schuster thanked Arnoldo Rodriguez, professor in the George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology, and Nermina Sinanovic, coordinator in Information Technology, for co-chairing the University’s Diversity Working Group.
“People with your drive and your dedication are what make Webster great,” Schuster said as he noted some of the recommendations of the Working Group. “This is not just another feather in our cap. This is what we do. This is who we are.”
Though Webster has received several recent recognitions in this area — the latest comes this Thursday, when the nonprofit Paraquad will honor Webster for making courses and offices accessible to those with disabilities — Stroble said “the diversity of our population is measured in our commitment to providing a pathway to their success.”
This commitment comes in several forms, whether through financial aid — Webster shines above its peers in seeing federal Pell Grant-receiving students through to graduation — accessible services, or through the diversity of its academic programs.
Last week’s event brought Webster University community members together along with representatives from partner organizations that share the value of diversity and inclusion.
“We’re all invested in Webster taking the lead in cultivating the rich diversity that the human experience brings to our world,” Stroble said. Nodding to Webster’s partners, she said, “We’re lucky to have fellow sojourners on that path.”