Number of Diversity Excellence Scholars at UO tops 100

Yvette Alex-Assensoh
Yvette Alex-Assensoh

The 2014-15 school year welcomed the most diverse incoming freshman class in UO history with minority students representing 27 percent of freshmen, and more than 100 new students have received the Diversity Excellence Scholarship.

The yearly award provides up to $6,500 to undergraduate students and up to $9,000 for graduate and law students to be used for tuition. Currently, there are around 400 Diversity Excellence Scholars, the largest diversity scholarship program at the UO.

The scholarship is awarded on past academic performance and strength of community service, among other factors, said Jane Irungu, director of the UO Center for Multicultural Academic Excellence.

“They have to do community service and minority and inclusion work,” Irungu said. “The scholarship is for any student who engages in diverse communities and civic engagement. It brings different types of students to campus because of those experiences.”

The scholars began the new academic year with an annual reception dinner at the Gerlinger complex. The event included remarks by Vice President for Equity and Inclusion Yvette Alex-Assensoh, financial aid director Jim Brooks and UO Board of Trustees member Ginevra Ralph. Several current scholars and members of the Center for Multicultural Academic Excellence also spoke.

The Diversity Excellence Scholarship is not the only one of its kind, however. The center works to provide multiple diversity scholarships that promote academic and professional opportunities for all students, Irungu said.

The center has also announced that junior Cecilia De La Cruz and senior Mekiya Amado have received the Diversity Excellence Scholars Abroad award, senior Thomas Peckenham-Hernandez has received this year’s $4,000 Jewel H. Bell Award and freshman Smartine Ostin received the merit-based Robert J. Erickson Kaiser Permanente Scholarship of up to $5,400 per year.

—By Nathaniel Brown, Public Affairs Communications