President Stephen C. Ainlay is this year’s recipient of the President’s Award from the regional Leadership Council on Inclusion.
The award, presented at the group’s annual reception Wednesday, Oct. 27 at Skidmore College, is given to individuals that have exhibited exceptional leadership and commitment to diversity and multiculturalism by creating and designing programs or services to improve initiatives targeting multiculturalism and inclusion.
“On behalf of the members of the Leadership Council on Inclusion, I am delighted to recognize President Stephen Ainlay as this year’s recipient of the President Award,” said Betty Shadrick, the council’s co-chair. “His longstanding contributions to diversity and multiculturalism more than meet and exceed the selection criteria for this award.”
Since becoming president in 2006, Ainlay has created two new staff positions dedicated to diversity and multiculturalism, a senior-level strategic position and a student-oriented multicultural affairs position. He has supported multi-faith life on campus by expanding the Interfaith Chaplaincy and providing space and resources for a multi-faith mediation and worship room. Also, the percentage of students of color and international students at Union has risen under his leadership, including an all-time high of 25 percent for last year’s class.
During the College’s celebration of Founders Day earlier this year, Ainlay urged the campus community to embrace greater diversity on campus. “Diversity of all sorts – racial, ethnic, geographic, religious, economic, sexual orientation, among many others – enriches our individual lives and our collective experience,” he told an audience gathered in Memorial Chapel to commemorate the 215th anniversary of the granting of the College’s charter by the state.
The Leadership Council on Inclusion was formed in 2007 under the sponsorship of Excelsior College to promote a positive transformation of organizations through the advocacy of diversity and multiculturalism as a mainstream aspect of society. Initially comprised of the chief diversity officers at higher education institutions in the Albany region, it also includes representatives from business, government and the legal profession.