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Central Washington University

Seven to be Honored for Diversity Efforts at CWU’s 5th Annual Diversity Awards

Monday, April 29, 2019



Seven individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to diversity are this year’s recipients of Central Washington University’s annual Diversity Awards.


The seven will be recognized during a presentation on May 8 in the SURC Ballroom on the CWU campus. For ticket information, go to:


This year’s honorees include:


• Student Award – Samuel Gutierrez, president of Brother 2 Brother, a campus organization that assists participants, mostly young men in need of guidance, to excel academically, socially, culturally, professionally, and in the community.


• Alumni Award – John Haroldson, who graduated from CWU in 1986, and became the first Latino elected as district attorney in the state of Oregon. Haroldson is chair of the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute Board and has mentored a number of Latinx CWU students.


• Faculty Award – Teresa Divine, associate professor of Law and Justice at CWU, who is being cited for her commitment to social justice. Divine helped establish the Black Graduation at CWU and serves as advisor to the Black Student Union and as a mentor to a number of CWU students of color.


• Staff Award – Natalia Thomas, who serves as student services generalist for CWU’s Westside Student Life. Thomas has been actively involved in advancing community-based service initiatives at the centers including helping to organize campus celebrations honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., helping to develop an Alternative Thanksgiving Dinner at the Lynnwood Center, and facilitating the establishment of First Generation Week in collaboration with Edmonds Community College.


• Staff Award – Jason Berthon-Koch, CWU’s police chief, who also works closely with students groups such as Brother 2 Brother, for whom he is an advisor, and the Black Student Union. Berthon-Koch is being recognized for his commitment to diversity and to policing without bias.


• Community Award – Pastor Jen Stuart of the First United Methodist Church in Ellensburg, who helped establish Central Washington Justice for Our Neighbors, a clinic to assist those with immigration questions or issues.


• Community Award Honorable Mention – Rolf Williams, owner and manager of Jerrol’s, who is being lauded for his years of support for the Kittitas County Parent to Parent organization. The group offers emotional support and information to families raising children with special needs.


The awards are a celebration of diversity sponsored by the CWU Office of the President and the Office of the Vice President of Inclusivity and Diversity.

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