New endowment created to promote diversity education

Tuesday February 19, 2019Lisa Eikenburg
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The Collingwood Distinguished Lecture for Diversity was recently established at Fredonia as part of the Fredonia College Foundation’s Nurturing Innovation Campaign.

A $250,000 gift from an anonymous Fredonia graduate will provide annual support for an honorarium to bring a nationally recognized speaker of diversity to the Fredonia campus each year. The lecture is an effort to promote leadership, education, advocacy and outreach for underrepresented groups or issues in society, and support the integration of diversity, as a whole, into the academic community.

The fund, as it grows, can also be used to support travel and accommodation for the speaker.

Fredonia’s Chief Diversity Officer for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Dr. William Boerner, will be responsible, in consultation with President Virginia Horvath, for the identification and selection of a nationally and highly recognized advocate in the field of diversity.

Dr. Boerner noted, “The Collingwood Diversity Lectureship is another way that Fredonia is helping to advance inclusion on our campus."

Boerner added, "Through the generosity of an alum, we'll have an opportunity to continue to bring wonderful speakers to help our community learn about differences, social justice, and gain further cultural competency. I cannot thank our foundation staff and the donor enough for their tireless work to support inclusion on our campus!" 

Director of Development June Miller-Spann of Fredonia’s Division of Advancement, Engagement and Economic Development has worked with the donor for over 10 years, building the donor’s philanthropic vision to assist the Fredonia campus by promoting social justice. Over the years, the donor has generously supported various efforts of the LGBTQ community.

Building on the success of an initial gift to sponsor the "Reaching OUT to SUNY" conference at Fredonia, the donor then provided an anonymous challenge grant in support of the "Reaping the Harvest of Reaching OUT to SUNY" program. The grant was beneficial to promoting diversity on Fredonia’s campus and resulted in a Climate Survey, new webpage design and dissemination of LGBTQ resources, development and sponsorship for two webinars during the spring and fall of 2012, a campus pride index and registration, and completion of the development process for Safe Zone training. The donor was also instrumental in providing a donation to bring in speaker and social justice advocate Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard.

In addition, prior to the gift to establish the Collingwood Distinguished Lecture in Diversity, the donor established the Collingwood Diversity Endowment through the Fredonia College Foundation in 2016, to enhance and elevate awareness and create sustainability of programs that sought to promote education, advocacy and outreach for underrepresented individuals. The annual earnings from the endowment are available for use through consultation with the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Council and the Chief Diversity Officer, who is also responsible for the selection of recipients and distribution of the allocations.

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