Letter from VP-CODE (April 2017 Edition of Our Grounds: Dimensions of Diversity)

Posted: April 17, 2017, 11:36am

Greetings Friends,

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

One of UVA's 'Hidden Figures' Honored for Breaking Color Barrier

Posted: April 10, 2017, 12:00am

Mavis ClaytorMore than 300 people crowded into McLeod Auditorium at the University of Virginia’s School of Nursing on Friday to honor the school’s first African-American enrollee and graduate, Mavis Claytor. She charmed the audience, joked and told stories of her family, her early education in segregated Virginia and the hurdles and triumphs she faced during integration, and at UVA. (READ MORE)

Source: UVA Today (Christine Phelan Kueter)

Change Agents with Compassion: Student, Medical Dean Awarded for Diversity

Posted: March 28, 2017, 12:00am

Dr. Randolph Canterbury and third-year student Attiya LatifOne honoree is a third-year Jefferson Scholar whose parents emigrated from Pakistan. The other is a longtime Medical School administrator who hails from West Virginia. As different as University of Virginia third-year student Attiya Latif and Dr. Randolph Canterbury may seem, they share qualities that led to both being selected as this year’s recipients of the 2017 John T. Casteen III Diversity-Equity-Inclusion Leadership Award. (READ MORE)

Source: UVA Today (Anne E. Bromley)

UVA Researchers Focus on What Black Girls Experience

Posted: March 14, 2017, 12:00am

University of Virginia faculty members and students have taken on the complex subject of black girlhood in several ways – on the academic front, through an emerging interdisciplinary field focusing on black girlhood; and in positive community engagement. Their aim is to understand what holds girls of color back while developing and supporting programs that help them thrive. For researchers such as assistant professor Corinne Field and others, it has become clear that broad efforts to help all girls, or all African-American youth, are not specifically empowering black girls. Their work is urgent and the potential benefits to society are great. (READ MORE)

Source: UVA Today (Anne E. Bromley)

10 Places on Grounds to Rediscover Black History

Posted: February 27, 2017, 12:00am

When the University of Virginia’s famed Rotunda was being built, Robert Battles, a free man of color, hauled more than 176,000 bricks and several tons of sand to the site in 1823. Battles’ treks give a sense of the impact African-Americans made on the construction and early functioning of the University – a history overlooked for years in the telling of the University’s creation. You only have to look around the Academical Village to find more instances. (READ MORE)

Source: UVA Today (Anne E. Bromley)