Diversity Champion Award

During the planning of the first Multicultural Reunion at Grinnell College in 2017, the alumni planning committee created the Diversity Champion Award to shine a light on the incredible work done by individuals to make the College a more welcoming place for their minoritized identities.

The award recognizes the accomplishments of a faculty member, staff member, or alum (individual, teams, or organizations) who provided an important contribution to diversity, equity, and inclusion during their time at Grinnell College in behaviors, activities, and/or projects.

This award encompasses many facets of visible and invisible diversity, focusing on underserved and underrepresented populations, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical and mental abilities, religious belief, and country of origin.

Selection Criteria

Was there someone during your time at Grinnell that made a difference in our life or the life of your peers? Were you the squeaky wheel who didn’t stop until a change was made? Did you start a student organization or create a new event celebrating diversity? Were you the shoulder to lean on and steady force that kept people moving forward to get the hard work done?

The Grinnell College Diversity and Inclusion Award Selection Committee is looking for individuals, programs, events, or initiatives that demonstrate innovative leadership going above and beyond job descriptions in areas such as recruitment and retention efforts, teaching, research, multicultural programs, cultural competency, services, and community outreach activities. Recipients should demonstrate a commitment to creating a culture of inclusion within their areas of influence.

Examples of these activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Creation, sponsorship, or active promotion of programs, initiatives, or projects in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Collaboration with campus or community groups in the creation, sponsorship, and implementation of programs, initiatives, or projects in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Activities to recruit, retain, and professionally develop individuals who increase the diversity of the faculty and staff
  • Activities to attract or recruit students who increase the diversity of the College, or to help ensure the success of those students
  • Recognition and celebration of exemplary individual and team behaviors that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Activities to create leadership teams and organizations that promote a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture

Nomination Process

To nominate an individual, team, or organization for the Award, please complete the Diversity Champion Award nomination form. The nomination deadline for the 2023 award is August 31, 2023. An individual or organization may self-nominate. 

Award Presentation

The Award will be presented during the biennial Grinnell College Multicultural Reunion.

Past Recipients


Heidi Criswell, program assistant for the Institute for Global Engagement, for her unseen and unpaid work as a College staff member of color


Seven alumni who were critical in the creation of the Conney M. Kimbo Black Cultural Center were honored: Grant Crandall ’69, Hubert Farbes ’69, Deborah Green ’70, Merryll Penson ’70, Roy Walker ’69, Margaret Ward ’71, and Henry Wingate ’69.


The first ever recipient and inspiration for the award was Kesho Scott, associate professor of American studies and sociology, for fiercely advocating for minoritized students, creating social change, and fighting for social justice at Grinnell College for her more than 30 years as the first tenured Black faculty member.