The Hodges University Diversity Committee awarded their 2014 Hodges University Individual Excellence in Diversity and the Corporate Excellence in Diversity Awards at the recent HU Diversity Festival. In its seventh year, the event drew over 1,000 visitors to Sugden Regional Park in Naples, Florida, for a day of art, music, food and culture.
• HU Corporate Excellence in Diversity Award recipient: The Naples Equestrian Challenge
The Naples Equestrian Challenge (NEC) was chosen as the 2014 winner of the Excellence in Diversity Award for their model of community service and their generous outreach work in the region.
In presenting the award, HU President Dr. Jeanette Brock praised the group for their dedication to serving the needs of Collier County residents with special needs. “These special individuals who face many challenges are treated with compassion, dignity and respect by your staff and volunteers,” she said.
"Thank you for changing the lives of these individuals and their families one stride at a time through the combined magic of equine therapy. NEC exemplifies diversity and inclusion at its best.”
NEC offers therapeutic riding for Collier County, Florida adults and children with disabilities. NEC is a PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International) Premier Center, meets stringent safety standards and has achieved excellence in providing quality equine-assisted activities.
Past recipients of the award include Walmart SWFL (2013), Mental Health Association of Southwest Florida (2012), Lee Memorial Healthcare System (2011), COSTCO (2010), Publix (2009) and Naples Community Hospital (2008).
• HU Dr. Harold Russell Excellence in Diversity Award: Mary McDonough
Mary McDonough, Business Development Manager for Dress for Success SW Florida, was honored for her work in promoting the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support, and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. The 2013 recipient, Les Williams, Training Captain at Collier County Government, presented the award to McDonough.
In selecting McDonough for the honor, Hodges University’s Chief Diversity Officer Gail B. Williams cited McDonough’s commitment, compassion, generosity and love for the community. “The difference that she is making
by embracing diversity and inclusion is changing lives,” Williams said.
The award recognizes an individual who personifies the highest standards of service, leadership and character, and was named after the late Dr. Harold Russell, founder and leader of the Hodges University Diversity Initiative. The Diversity Initiative is a comprehensive, campus-wide endeavor devoted to enhancing and promoting diversity at Hodges University via the development and implementation of school-wide programs related to diversity.
In addition to 2014 award recipient Mary McDonough, past recipients are: Les Williams, Collier County EMS (2013); Debra Frankel, Founder and CEO of Freedom Waters (2012); Marcus Goodson, President of the Lee County
Housing Authority (2011); Dr. Shirley Chapman, Lee County Charter School Principal (2010); Lee Pitts of “Lee Pitts Live (2009);” and Leonardo Garcia, President and CEO of Hispanic American Business Alliance, LLC (2008).
For more information on the HU Diversity Committee, please contact Gail Williams at (239) 598-6135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.