CWU News

Diversity Awards celebration honors 16 influential figures on campus, in the community

CWU President Jim Wohlpart congratulates Dr. T. Andre Feagin on receiving a 2023 Diversity Award.

CWU President Jim Wohlpart congratulates CWU Director of Bands T. Andre Feagin on receiving a 2023 Diversity Award during the March 2 ceremony..

Central Washington University paid tribute to some of the community’s most influential advocates for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at the ninth annual President’s Diversity Awards celebration Thursday, March 2, in the SURC Ballroom.

The event, hosted by CWU President Jim Wohlpart and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, honored 16 individuals for their contributions to helping the university and the Ellensburg community build an even more inclusive, more welcoming culture.

“We do good work with our diversity and inclusion efforts. But we must take this work to the next level, to build a community where every individual feels like they are welcomed for the person they are and the person they are becoming,” Wohlpart said. “All of this year’s nominees embody these ideals, and it is my honor to congratulate them on helping make Central Washington University and the Ellensburg community more inclusive and more equitable.”

Dr. Kandee Cleary received the Bobby Cummings Lifetime Achievement Award for 2023.Among the 2023 Diversity Awards honorees was former Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Dr. Kandee Cleary, who received the fourth annual Bobby Cummings Lifetime Achievement Award for her commitment to challenging practices and policies that often become barriers to faculty, staff, and students. Cleary returned to her role on the faculty in Central Washington University’s Department of Sociology after more than a decade of service on the university’s Executive Leadership Team.

“Dr. Cleary has been a loud and clear voice for those who may not have a seat at the table to make sure that their voices are heard and elevated,” the president said. “Her approach exemplifies CWU’s commitment to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus and to create a true culture of belonging. She is a treasure for this university, and we deeply appreciate all that she has done for us over the years.”

CWU Professor Darci Snowden, second from left, received a 2023 Diversity Award

Also being recognized at last Thursday’s event were:

  • Students: Paige Hall, Mariah Minjarez, Luis Reyes, and Manny Valencia
  • Community: Melany Peterson and T. Andre Feagin
  • Faculty: Tennecia Dacass, Sayantani Mukherjee, Darci Snowden, Christina Torres-Garcia, and T. Andre Feagin
  • Staff: Fiona Corner, Mishel Kuch, Jessica Murillo-Rosales Davis, Joe Ritchie, and Kendall Smart

Yakima School District Superintendent and one-time National Principal of the Year Trevor Greene (’98) was the keynote speaker.

The President’s Diversity Awards was established in 2012 to recognize CWU students, faculty, and staff—along with Ellensburg residents—who are making a positive, sustainable impact on DEI initiatives at the university and in the community. This year and in the past, nominees and award recipients have demonstrated a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, and they have consistently engaged and actively nurtured a supportive environment for equity.

“These exceptional individuals have worked in partnership and collaboration across all university divisions and within the local community to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion through social justice initiatives, events, and programs,” Wohlpart said. “They also have made a sustained commitment to promote a shared sense of belonging over time, helping integrate inclusion into their everyday decisions and actions.”

More information about the President’s Diversity Awards is available on CWU’s website. See a photo gallery from the event on our Flickr page.

Media Contact: David Leder, Department of Public Affairs,, 509-963-1518