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University of Utah Presents 2002 Diversity Awards

May 1, 2002 — Yesterday the University of Utah’s Marriott Library and Youth Teaching Youth Program, administered through the Museum of Natural History, were presented with the University’s 2002 Diversity Awards. Karen L. Dace, associate vice president for diversity, presented an unexpected Diversity Award to Kathryn Felker, director of Educational Opportunity Programs for the University of Utah.

University President Bernie Machen said no University can achieve academic excellence without diversity, a familiar theme of his administration. “Learning in a diverse environment, where the free exchange of ideas and the exploration of differences is possible, provides a better educational experience,” Machen noted.

The University of Utah Diversity Awards were established in 1996 to recognize campus departments and individuals that demonstrate commitment to enhancing diversity and expanding opportunities for students, staff and faculty at the U.

Kathy France, the Youth Teaching Youth Program manager, accepted the award on behalf of the Museum of Natural History. In its eighth year, the Youth Teaching Youth Program consists of a partnership between the University and Glendale Middle School. The project empowers the teenage students from underrepresented populations by instructing them how to teach science to elementary school age students. The project challenges students to remain in school and to set high academic goals. Through Youth Teaching Youth, several hundred Glendale students have also provided public programming support at the Museum of Natural History and developed science skills in University laboratories. The program has received national recognition for its success in providing educational and career advancement opportunities for diverse students.

The Marriott Library was honored for its commitment to enhancing diversity on campus and throughout Utah by featuring a series of exhibits, which included “Japanese American Day of Remembrance,” “Looking Back With Pleasure II: A Celebration of African American Literature in the 20th Century” and “Nazi Olympics, Berlin 1936,” part of the Cultural Olympiad during the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Games.

Under the leadership of Director Sarah Michalak, the Marriott Library team brought to the University exhibitions dealing with sensitive subject matter on issues of race, gender, religion and ethnicity, which have created awareness and furthered understanding. As the Marriott Library draws 2,000 visitors daily, these free exhibits reached a large cross-section of students, faculty, staff and community members.

Kathryn Felker, along with law professor Robert Flores and Edward Trujillo, associate professor of chemical and fuels engineering, are the only individuals awarded U of U Diversity Awards. “In a state where pioneer spirit is celebrated, Kathy Felker stands as a pioneer in Utah education,” said Dace.

Felker began her career at the University as a recruiter-counselor for the Educational Talent Search Project in 1970. In 1972 she became the director of the Educational Opportunity Program, a position she still holds. She has directed Talent Search, Veterans Upward Bound and the Upward Bound/CETA Demonstration Project. She currently directs Upward Bound and Student Support Services. According to one nominator, Felker is “the architect, custodian, designer and administrator of a program that brings a number of diverse students to the University and creates a climate in which they can succeed.”