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AU’s Alumni Association Receives Inclusive Excellence Award

Inclusive excellence, a cornerstone at AU, honored by Insight Into Diversity magazine.

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Just announced in a press release, American University is a recipient of the Alumni Association Inclusive Excellence Award from Insight Into Diversity magazine. The award honors the alumni association’s culture, programs, and initiatives that encourage diversity, inclusion, and a sense of belonging for all alumni. 

This publication is the largest and oldest in higher education focused on diversity and inclusion. And, AU, along with 31 other recipient institutions, will be featured in the June 2024 issue of the magazine.  

Edwina Simms, who was recently named assistant vice president of alumni relations, is highly focused on inclusive excellence. “I am so proud of our alumni association,” she says. “As an alumni community of more than 150,000, it’s important that we celebrate the unique identities that collectively contribute to the level of diversity at AU.” 

In 2017, a university-wide inclusive excellence plan was implemented to improve the campus climate and create a more equitable future. Phase two of the plan is currently in progress and focused on advancing racial equity. The goals and actions of this phase aim to extend inclusive excellence to the university’s mission of building knowledge through scholarship, research, and creative works. 

In January 2024, Nkenge Friday joined the university as the first vice president of inclusive excellence. This role brings together campus efforts and drives development, communication, and engagement across the community.

In the alumni space specifically, AU supports inclusivity in uniquely impactful ways. The Alumni Board is impressively diverse—comprised of 58% women with an equal representation of white and Black/African American membership at 35.6%, and ages ranging from 31-74. Additionally, alumni alliances and affinity groups offer Eagles with shared identities the opportunity to network and build community with each other, current students, faculty, and staff. 

“Alumni are a huge part of AU’s story and a vital part of our future success. Our story isn’t over, and the work is certainly not done, but we should celebrate our progress,” Simms says. 

Receiving the Alumni Association Inclusive Excellence Award is indeed a marker of progress—and a testament to the university’s commitment to inclusive excellence.