Multicultural Graduation Awards

Dr. Chico Herbison Hawk Link Scholastic Award

Hawk Link is an academic based program established in 1998. It is designed to assist first year students of color navigate their first year by utilizing existing programs at The University of Kansas. Students that have graduated from Hawk Link state that the program has had a powerful impact in their academic & personal lives and have continued to assist the program through several avenues as alumni.

The Hawk Link Award was first awarded in 2003 and was named the Chico Herbison Hawk Link Scholastic Award in 2007 after Dr. Chico Herbison. Dr. Herbison served as a Professor in the Department of African & African American Studies and other departments while at The University of Kansas from 1986-2007. Dr. Herbison is an ally, supporter, and served as a faculty mentor since the inception of the Hawk Link program

Award Qualifications

  • Graduating Senior
  • Hawk Link Graduate
  • Active Participation in the Hawk Link Program
  • Campus & community participation
  • Demonstrated leadership skills
  • Scholastic Achievement (2.75 min), with preference given to higher GPA’s

Dr. Fred Rodriguez Award for Academic Achievement

Dr. Rodriguez served the University of Kansas for 35 years. His legacy includes serving as the first director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, serving as KU’s first Vice Provost for Diversity & Equity and the creation of the Multicultural Scholars Program (MSP). MSP is a special and unique opportunity for academically well-prepared undergraduate students.

This award was created in 2013 to highlight Dr. Rodriguez’s commitment to creating opportunities for underrepresented students on campus.

Award Qualifications

  • Graduating Senior
  • Participant in good standing within the Multicultural Scholars Program; to be verified by MSP representative
  • Participation in Office of Multicultural Affairs programs
  • Scholastic Achievement (3.0 min), with preference given to higher GPA’s
  • Campus & community participation
  • Organization involvement

Dr. Neeli Bendapudi Award

Since its inception in 1995, the Multicultural Resource Center has served as a beacon of racial and cultural enlightenment. Through programs and activities the MRC strives to interweave multiculturalism into the fabric of our institution. Now known as the Office of Multicultural Affairs these programs and ideas still lead our diverse community into the future.

This award was established in 2002 to be presented to a student or faculty/staff member who has demonstrated loyalty and interest in the Multicultural Resource Center and has been an active participant in the activities and services of the Multicultural Resource Center.

Award Qualifications

  • Graduating Senior or Faculty/Staff Member
  • Participation in Office of Multicultural Affairs programs
  • Campus & community participation
  • Organization involvement
  • Demonstrated leadership skills
  • Scholastic Achievement (2.75 min), with preference given to higher GPA’s

Mary Townsend Award

In the Fall of 1974, Professor Mary Townsend was appointed the Director of SES which became the Office of Minority Affairs in 1975 when it began to develop a cultural enrichment program focus. Many alumni today will tell you, Mary Townsend was instrumental in counseling and advising them and other students with personal, financial and social problems to help them matriculate through their academic career at KU.

The terms leadership, positive role model and Mary Townsend are synonymous. It was during Mary Townsend’s tenure as director, the office held the first Minority Graduation Banquet in 1977 at the Eldridge Hotel to recognize the achievements of graduating minority students. In July 1982, Professor Mary Townsend resigned as the Director in order to return to teaching and later retire.

Award Qualifications

  • Graduating Senior
  • Strong Leader
  • Excellent Role Model
  • Student Oriented
  • Participation in Office of Multicultural Affairs programs
  • Campus & community participation
  • Organization involvement
  • Scholastic Achievement (2.75 min), with preference given to higher GPA’s

Distinguished Graduate Student Award

This is an award that honors graduate students doing excellent work, both in and out of the classroom. These students have pushed for curriculum review in their education programs. We feel that these students are change agents, and we want to acknowledge them.

Award Qualifications

  • Graduating Graduate Student
  • Strong Leader
  • Excellent Role Model
  • Student Oriented
  • Participation in OMA programs
  • Serve as a change agent either in or outside of the classroom

Dr. Precious Porras Award for Campus Advocacy and Activism

This is a brand new award this year. In 2016, Precious Porras became the first woman to lead the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) in nearly 30 years, after serving in a variety of positions within the office for 11 years. Her living legacy includes providing leadership for the office and greater campus community during social unrest and student protest. As Director of the OMA, Porras used her voice and position to center the voices of marginalized populations at the University of Kansas. This award recognizes a Jayhawk who has shifted campus culture to create a more inclusive space through campus advocacy and activism.

Award Qualifications:

  • The Precious Porras Award for Campus Activism recognizes a Jayhawk who has shifted campus culture (leaning to a more inclusive space), through campus advocacy and activism. A strong candidate will meet the following qualifications:
  • Graduating Senior, Graduating graduate students, or Faculty/Staff Member
  • Some participation in Office of Multicultural Affairs programs
  • Campus & community involvement
  • Demonstrated leadership skills
  • Scholastic Achievement, with preference given to higher GPAs
  • Contributed in creating more inclusive and equitable spaces on KU’s campus