As we approach the end of the spring semester, I would like to take the opportunity to review with you initiatives from the past few months.
The Community MLK Celebration in January was a great success. Many thanks to all who attended and supported the events. Below, you will find an article highlighting Anita Hill’s keynote address.
In February, the Charlottesville City Council passed a resolution recognizing March 3rd as “Liberation and Freedom Day.” On that day in 1865, 14,000 enslaved members of Charlottesville and Albemarle County were freed. For the first observance of this historic day, members of the Charlottesville and University communities came together at the University chapel to commemorate the moment the bells were rung across the city, announcing freedom of the enslaved. Following the service at the chapel, many marched to the Jefferson School where the celebration continued.
At the end of March, a luncheon was held to honor the 2017 recipients of the John T. Casteen III Diversity-Equity-Inclusion Leadership Award. This year’s award went to Attiya Latif and Dr. Randolph Canterbury. Attiya, a third year student, has distinguished herself across Grounds for her commitment to improving the University’s climate. Dr. Canterbury, currently the senior associate dean for education in the School of Medicine, is known for his passion for diversity and the role he played in improving the admissions process. For a full list of their accomplishments, please see the attached article, “Change Agents with Compassion: Student, Medical Dean Awarded for Diversity.”
On April 1st, students from nine partner schools as well as community colleges in the region presented their STEM research projects and participated in a graduate school recruitment fair at the 10th annual Virginia-North Carolina Alliance Undergraduate Research Symposium held at partner school St. Augustine’s University. The National Science Foundation’s Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (NSF-LSAMP) program continues to increase the number of underrepresented minorities who earn STEM degrees throughout the country. The VA-NC Alliance is near the end of its tenth year and has made significant progress with a 156% increase in STEM degrees obtained by underrepresented minorities graduating from its partner schools over the course of our first two phases. A third phase grant proposal has been submitted to the NSF.
Over the past year, the design team for the Memorial of Enslaved Laborers has been meeting with members of the UVA and Charlottesville communities to develop a concept for the memorial. Multiple public forums were held to gather ideas and receive feedback on potential designs. Earlier this month, the President's Commission on Slavery and the University unanimously approved the current design, which will be presented to the Board of Visitors this summer. If you would like to contribute towards making the memorial a reality on Grounds, please visit this webpage.
The articles below feature more news related to diversity, equity, and inclusion on Grounds. I wish you all a healthy and productive spring and summer.
Martin L. Martin, M.D.
Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity
Professor of Emergency Medicine