Diversity Forum Showcases Columbus State University’s Commitment to Diversity



COLUMBUS, Ga. --- Columbus State University celebrated its commitment to fostering a safe and diverse campus Thursday, March 10 with a daylong conference and dinner/awards ceremony, collectively called the Diversity Forum.

For the first time in the history of the Legacy Celebration, the ceremony was held in CSU’s Lumpkin Center. The previous location could not accommodate the more than 400 attendees for the sold-out annual banquet.

Headlining this year’s dinner was Eric Thomas, an internationally acclaimed author, educator, pastor and motivational speaker known as the “Hip-Hop Preacher.” He uses energetic messages laced with lessons from his own past to inspire Fortune 500 companies, such as General Electric, Nike and AT&T, major league teams from the NFL, NBA, MLS and MLB, and collegiate athletic programs, and now Columbus State University.

“Eric’s messages transcend all barriers, populations and generations,” said Johniqua Williams, development specialist for CSU’s Diversity Programs. “When he speaks, everyone listens.”

During the Legacy Celebration Banquet, CSU’s Office of Diversity Programs and Services honored the following:

-- Katelyn Longino, Women's Leadership Award
-- Cylina Velazquez, Community Outreach Award
-- Dee Anderson, Outstanding Student with Disability Award
-- Shawn Padonu, Lavender Alliance Community Award
-- Stephanie Carney, Baptist Collegiate Ministry, Faith-Based and Humanitarian Award
-- Madison Montgomery, Servant Leadership, Civic Engagement Award
-- Avery Rosser, Alumni Award
-- Joy Norman, Outstanding Faculty/Staff Award
-- Diana Smith, Goizueta Foundation Scholarship Award
-- Rasheed Mumuney and Tracey Carruthers, John Townsend Achievement Award
-- Laura Galindo-Montoya, Kiongozi Award for Outstanding International Leadership

Participants in the Diversity Conference, which was held the same day as the banquet, exchanged ideas and opinions about topics ranging from homelessness and poverty to religious discrimination.

“The Diversity Conference was a great opportunity to network, workshop and engage in a dialogue that will not only continue CSU’s legacy of inclusion, but help reinforce solutions that are relevant worldwide,” Williams said.

Conference participants were joined by Ariel Ennis of the Of Many Institute for Interfaith Leadership, a NYU-based center founded by Chelsea Clinton and devoted to educating and inspiring religious and spiritual leaders to utilize multifaith dialogue.

For more information about the Diversity Forum, visit https://diversity.columbusstate.edu/diversityforum.php.