Texas A&M received the award in recognition of its outstanding efforts in recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce. U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao said the award “represents the highest level of voluntary commitment to equal employment opportunity endeavors.”
“The innovative and exemplary programs developed and implemented by Texas A&M University set an example for the entire federal contractor community,” Chao said in a letter informing Texas A&M President Robert Gates of the university’s selection for the prestigious award.
It was an award that Texas A&M officials didn’t expect to receive. The university was nominated for and applied for a Labor Department EVE Award. However, after reviewing Texas A&M’s outstanding programs, judges instead opted to award the university its top award. The Opportunity Award is awarded annually to just one federal contractor nationwide that has established and instituted comprehensive workforce strategies ensuring equal employment opportunity. Past recipients include Dell, QualComm, Westinghouse Electric and Procter & Gamble.Texas A&M University System Board of Regents Chairman John White led a university/system delegation that attended the ceremony. James Fletcher, vice chancellor for administration for the A&M System, formally accepted the award on the university’s behalf.
Fletcher cited 14 programs that the university conducts in support of equal employment opportunities and diversity, among other initiatives. One of the cited programs notes the minority and female representation that Texas A&M has among its top administrative and academic officers, particularly at the levels of vice president and dean.
“The university has a multitude of programs and initiatives specifically designed to increase and improve diversity across campus, including diversity workshops and training, affinity groups for faculty and staff, and the faculty reinvestment initiative,” Fletcher said. “Receiving the award reflects well on the A&M System’s commitment to creating an environment that respects and nurtures all members of our faculty, staff and student communities.”
At the awards ceremony, White said, “We have always understood that our students—the next generation of leaders—are best served when their professors and mentors embody not just the intellectual diversity one expects to find in the marketplace of ideas, but also the racial diversity of our great state.”
A summary of the nomination document, including overviews of all 14 cited programs and related information, can be viewed at the System’s website.