Graduate Diversity & Inclusion Awards

Each year, the Graduate School selects two members of the university community to receive a Commitment to Diversity Award. This award recognizes one graduate student and one faculty member for their outstanding contributions to diversity and inclusion in graduate education at UMass Amherst.

Selected solely on the strength of nominating letters, each award recipient is recognized annually at the Student of Color Banquet at the end of the Spring semester.

Nomination Process

*Nominations for the 2020 Award is now closed. Please check back in January 2021 for the 2021 nomination cycle*

  • For the faculty award: Any member of the graduate faculty may nominate themselves or another graduate faculty member for this award. Self-nominations are permitted. Nominations by graduate students are also permitted. Nominations materials should consist of the following: A letter from the nominator, and three supporting letters from current or former graduate students. 
  • For the student award: Any graduate student may nominate another graduate student for this award. Self-nominations are not permitted. Letters submitted by multiple students in recognition of a nominee are especially welcome. 
  • Nomination materials should be emailed to with the subject "Commitment to Diversity <Faculty or Student> Award Nomination for <name> in <department>.
  • The award recipient will be chosen by a committee appointed by the Graduate School.


2020 Commitment to Diversity Awards

The Graduate School has selected three members of the university community as recipients of the 2020 Commitment to Diversity Award. 

The faculty winners of the Commitment to Diversity Award are Nathaniel Whitaker, Professor & Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and Stephanie Shonekan, Professor & Chair of the W.E.B Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies.

The student winner of the Commitment to Diversity Award is Patricia (Tita) Feraud-King, PhD Student in Higher Education.

View Award Winner Profiles