Huntington University recognized for its diversity initiatives

HUNTINGTON, Ind. Huntington University has been recognized with The Robert and Susan Andringa Award for Advancing Racial Harmony for its "best practice" programs in the area of racial and ethnic diversity.

The Andringa Award is presented each year by the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. The award recognizes an innovative and effective program, partnership or other strategic initiative that helps to create a welcoming climate, improves retention or provides support for ethnic/racial minority students, faculty or staff.

"Huntington University is pursuing racial harmony and diversity at multiple levels with a variety of programs and with the clear commitment of its senior leadership, faculty and Board of Trustees," said CCCU President Paul Corts. "We congratulate Huntington University for its significant achievement and impressive commitment to racial harmony and diversity."

In 2008, the university launched the Horizon Leadership Program. The program is a partnership between Huntington University and Youth for Christ USA with the goal of creating a more racially and ethnically diverse campus. A cohort of students from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds is selected each year to receive the Horizon Leadership Scholarship. A combination of federal, state and institutional aid, the scholarship covers all fees associated with tuition and housing costs for up to 10 semesters.

The university also helped to develop the Harmony Initiative which is an ad hoc group of local business leaders, elected officials, clergy, educators and social-service workers advancing values of the City of Huntington's mission statement, which declares Huntington to be "a community of civility and inclusion, where diversity is honored and differences are respected." President G. Blair Dowden serves as chair of this task force and two other university personnel are members.

"This work is 'a marathon and not a sprint,' but by sustaining this momentum and building on early successes, we are transforming the university and its surrounding community. By sharing our experience and learning from others, we can all better serve ethnically diverse students," Dowden said. "This award is a significant milepost along this journey."