U of M Office for Equity and Diversity announces recipients of inaugural Polaris Awards

The University of Minnesota Office for Equity and Diversity (OED) is excited to announce the recipients of its inaugural Polaris Awards. The award, which shares its name with the North Star, recognizes thought leaders and changemakers throughout the state of Minnesota who have made extraordinary contributions to equity and diversity efforts in ten different areas.

“We are thrilled to recognize this incredible group of trailblazers and change agents,” said Katrice Albert, vice president for Equity and Diversity. “They are committed to sharing their amazing talents and expertise within their spheres of influence in order to enhance the quality of life for underrepresented and underserved communities throughout the state of Minnesota.”

The 2017 award recipients are:

Community and Economic Development
Devean George, founder, George Group North

Disability Rights and Advocacy
Aaron Gutzke, state program director, ThinkSelf Education and Advocacy

Gender & Sexuality Rights and Advocacy
Saby Labor, founder and CEO, Resilient Campus

Government and Public Policy
Congressman Keith Ellison, Fifth Congressional District of Minnesota, United States House of Representatives

Health and Human Services
Pahoua Yang, vice president, community mental health and wellness, Amherst H. Wilder Foundation

K-12 Education
Kimberly Nelson, senior vice president, external relations, General Mills; co-chair, Leadership Council, Generation Next

Lifetime Achievement
Justice Alan Page (Ret.), Minnesota Supreme Court; founder, Page Education Foundation

Racial and Indigenous Justice
Clyde Bellecourt, executive director, American Indian Movement Interpretive Center

Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) Advancement
Kimberly Price, senior vice president, corporate communications and enterprise services, 3M

Young Polaris of the Year
R’Elle Robinson, student, Jennings Community School

OED will recognize the 2017 Polaris Award recipients at a reception on Thursday, April 27, 2017, at 6 p.m. at the University of Minnesota Campus Club (403 Coffman Memorial Union, 300 Washington Avenue SE, Minneapolis MN 55455).

For more information about the Polaris Awards, visit diversity.umn.edu/polaris.

Media contact: Anitra Cottledge, Office for Equity and Diversity, 612-625-5445, cottlead@umn.edu.


About the University of Minnesota Office for Equity and Diversity

The University of Minnesota Office for Equity and Diversity (OED) works to leverage the transformative power of equity and diversity to advance excellence in teaching, research and community engagement at the University of Minnesota. We envision a University where equity and diversity are: 1) integrated into the work and lives of every student, faculty, and staff member; 2) recognized as core institutional values, and will inform thinking, policies, and practices throughout the University; and 3) inherently intertwined with academic excellence and the development of leaders for a globally inclusive society.

Eight offices and initiatives are part of OED: the Office for Business and Community Economic Development; the Office for Conflict Resolution; the Disability Resource Center; the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action; the Gender and Sexuality Center for Queer and Trans Life; the Institute for Diversity, Equity and Advocacy; the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence; and the Women’s Center. Learn more at diversity.umn.edu.

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