University of Utah Office for Equity and Diversity

Equity and Diversity Awards

The Equity and Diversity Awards are presented on the basis of excellence in fostering leadership and commitment to enhance diversity and expand opportunities for students, staff, and/or faculty at the University of Utah. One award will be given in each of three categories:

  • Sustained contributions by University units, faculty or staff over many years
  • Contributions in the last year by University units, faculty or staff
  • Contributions by students


Congratulations to our 2014 Award Recipients!

Asian American Student Association (AASA)
Sustained Contributions by a Student Group

The Asian American Student Association (AASA) at the University of Utah was established in 1992, dedicated to the pursuit of equity and social justice. It has since grown from a small group to become one of the largest and most active student organizations on this campus. AASA currently serves students from very diverse Asian American heritage, acknowledging the uniqueness of each group, but ensuring that their voices in unison are a force to be reckoned with. Indeed, AASA can be best described as a powerhouse- from collaborating with other student organizations, serving on campus committees, to leading efforts for student advocacy and social justice. During the last few years, the group has steadily increased their high school recruitment efforts, bringing almost 300 high school students for their annual conference on our campus. AASA has also established regular programming for current University students, who describe the group as a family and support system away from home.

Mary D. Burbank
Sustained Contributions by University Staff

Clinical Professor Mary D. Burbank has been at the University of Utah for 20 years, and has been a tireless, unwavering, and effective advocate for enhancing the diversity and quality of the U's teacher education program. Her leadership played a key role in the reconceptualization of teacher education into what is now the Urban Institute for Teacher Education (UITE). In her role as the Director for UITE, Mary has created measures to recruit and retain more diverse pools of teacher candidates. One of these measures includes the hire of the first-ever student recruitment coordinator, who is charged with diversifying the pool of applicants into the program. Equally important, the program considers the rapidly changing Utah demographics and focuses on cultural sensitivity and understanding for all teacher candidates.

Samantha Eldridge
Contributions in the Past Year by a Student

Samantha Eldridge is a doctoral student in the Department of Political Science. Ms. Eldridge is also a leader in bringing awareness of issues of campus climate to the forefront, specifically through her work with the student organization Indigenous Students and Allies for Change (ISAC). Samantha is deeply committed to educating all students, faculty and staff regarding the use of native imagery. ISAC has organized campus film screenings and guest speakers who can inform the local debate, all while engaging in national conversations about Indigenous imagery on university campuses.