University earns national honor for diversity

A national organization has recognized Mississippi State’s efforts to promote diversity.

Hyattsville, Maryland-based Minority Access Inc. honored the university during its 16th annual National Role Models last weekend [Sept. 25-27] in Baltimore. A non-profit whose mission includes increasing diversity, decreasing disparities and reducing incidents of environmental injustices, Minority Access Inc. honors institutions and individuals who have exemplified a commitment to diversity through expansion of opportunities available to the under-represented groups served by the institution or individual.

Specifically, the organization recognized MSU for its initiatives and programs such as the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center, the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, the President’s Commission on the Status of Minorities, the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, the African American Studies Program and G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Center for America’s Veterans.

It also applauded MSU for its efforts to recruit and retain minority students, as well as President Mark E. Keenum and other university leaders’ “clear commitment to diversity through goals articulated within the university’s strategic plan and by providing funding and support for diversity and inclusion initiatives across campus.”

“Diversity and inclusion remain hallmarks of Mississippi State University’s values,” Keenum said. “We’re grateful for this national recognition of MSU’s long commitment to those values. As MSU grows, it’s vital that we continue to create opportunities that allow us to attract a diverse and vibrant multicultural student body.”

Cedric Gathings, interim assistant vice president for multicultural affairs and director for the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center, will accept the award for the university.

“As Mississippi’s leading institution of higher learning, MSU continues to be a catalyst for change, promoting advocacy, tolerance, respect, and appreciation within our community,” Gathings said. “We strive to prepare our current and future students, faculty and staff to become globalized citizens transforming environments, industries and vocations nationwide.”

Minority Access Inc. also has honored more than 400 individuals over the past 14 years as national role models, including Dr. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon and a candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. President; and Eric Holder, the first African American to hold the position of U.S. attorney general.

For more information about Minority Access Inc., visit

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Zack Plair | Public Affairs

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