Pacific recognizes Champions of Diversity

Pacific recognizes Champions of Diversity

Earlier this year, members of the university community on all three campuses nominated individual faculty, staff and students who have gone above and beyond in their support of diversity and inclusion efforts at Pacific for the second annual Champions of Diversity Awards.

Recipients were selected by the Diversity Leadership Team based on the strength of the nominations and the quality and scope of the work being recognized. The awards were presented at various ceremonies throughout the year.  

In April on the Sacramento Campus, Tracy Simmons, assistant dean for admissions and financial aid at the McGeorge School of Law, and student Sydnie Reyes '19 were honored. 

Sydnie Reyes '19 was instrumental in creating the groundbreaking Center for Diversity and Inclusion on the Sacramento Campus, one of the first safe spaces on a law campus. She is always willing to ask hard questions about race, diversity awareness, and how allies can effectively partner to help make a change.   

Dean Tracy Simmons has been a strong supporter of diversifying the school's student body and instrumental in attracting a diverse student body to McGeorge. She is a highly regarded authority among diversity professionals. Serving previously as the McGeorge dean for Diversity Initiatives, she spearheaded programming for incoming students. As a member of the Diversity Affairs Committee, she advocates for first-generation students and mentoring programs specific to their needs. She makes it a point to participate in events where diversity and inclusion are central and motivates others to participate. She has also volunteered in staffing the center for diversity and inclusion and encourages others to do so to help make it a success. In November, she was a recipient of the inaugural CLEO EDGE (Education, Diversity and Greater Equality) Award in Diversity from the Council on Legal Education Opportunity Inc.     

For Stockton staff, Randall Ogans, enterprise applications developer III in Pacific Technology, Alicia Perry, assistant director of the Community Involvement Program, and Marshea Pratt, assistant director of alumni relations, were honored during the Staff Years of Service Recognition event on May 22.  

Randall Ogans has led, organized and participated in Pacific's Black History Month celebration for over a decade and contributes many hours of his personal time to ensure the event is of the highest quality. He has brought scholars and musicians to Pacific who provide new viewpoints and opportunities for growth for Pacific and the Stockton community. He has served as a mentor and adviser and is a positive role model to Pacific students.  

Alicia Perry engages in diversity and inclusion working with students in and beyond the Community Involvement Program in which she works. She is actively engaged in the Black History Month Committee, advises the Black Student Union Student and facilitates networking and support for Black/African-American female Pacificans who meet monthly on the Stockton Campus. Perry also advocates for those in underrepresented groups in many ways in the community, including volunteering with St. Mary's Interfaith Dining Hall, advocating on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community, working to improve healthcare access for women of color around reproductive rights, working with the G.L.O.W. (Girls Loving Our Worth) program in the Stockton Unified School District, and as the CEO/Founder of Three Seeds, empowering women through education and employment services.  

Marshea Pratt consistently works both as a leader and behind the scenes to connect staff, faculty and students across a variety of identity intersections. She has advocated for a multi-generational approach to attracting a more diverse cross-section of Pacificans into the diversity and inclusion conversation and hosted Diversity Conversations last fall and this spring. She serves as Pacific's Kilusan Pilipino Club advisor, is active on Pacific's Black History Month committee and has served as the lead facilitator of African American women on campus who serve as mentors to students and/or points of contact for each other while at Pacific.  

Faculty members Jennifer Ross, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and associate dean in the School of Engineering and Computer Science, and Greg Rohlf, professor of history in the College of the Pacific, were recognized at the Center for Teaching and Learning's Faculty Fête on May 2.   

Jennifer Ross has been a consistent champion of diversity in the School of Engineering and Computer Science. As a woman in a male-dominated field, she has served as a role model and mentor for women faculty and as the faculty adviser for the Society of Women Engineers. She has also been on The Status of Women Taskforce and The Faculty Compensation Taskforce, where she was a voice for gender equality in salaries. Ross secured funding to send the first cohort of students to the Grace Hopper Celebration, a national conference for women technologists. She also played a key role in the recent hiring of the School of Engineering's diversity coordinator, demonstrating her commitment to increasing diversity in recruitment and ensuring support for underrepresented students to be successful at Pacific.   

Greg Rohlf, in his role as chair of the Department of History and previous role as academic chair for UOP International and Pacific Graduate Global Programs, has helped create an inclusive environment for domestic students with diverse cultural backgrounds and for international students in the UOPI program. He has mentored junior colleagues in teaching to students with diverse backgrounds and has designed and taught courses specifically for English-language learners, greatly contributing to their success. Drawing on his background and expertise in East Asian history and culture, he designed program activities to facilitate the inclusion of international students in the Pacific community. Rohlf has become a spokesperson for students of diverse cultural backgrounds. Many international students have sought his advice and mentorship, and he has always taken the time to talk with them, listen to their concerns and help find solutions for their issues.

On the San Francisco Campus, Dental student Ashley Soliman '18 was recognized during Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry graduating festivities in June.  

Ashley Soliman '18 was a very active member of the San Francisco Campus Diversity Committee. She organized "Lessons in a Lunchbox" and secured funding for it from the National Dental Association. She was instrumental in establishing Culture of the Month and continued to be active in its implementation. She was involved in numerous efforts that promote diversity, is passionate and dedicated and motivates others to do more. As co-founder and current president of the Student National Dental Association, she has gone above and beyond to bring culture and diversity awareness to the Dental School.

The final award for this year was presented to Patrick Langham, interim director of the Brubeck Institute and program director of jazz studies during the Brubeck Festival concert on Oct. 26.  

Patrick Langham has demonstrated his commitment to diversity most recently in bringing MacArthur Award-winning jazz violinist Regina Carter to Pacific along with jazz vocalist Rene Marie to Pacific's Brubeck Fall Festival celebrating Ella Fitzgerald's centennial year, which highlighted the often unsung role of women in the history of jazz. He provided the opportunity for Conservatory students to hear from Marie about her life as a musician and overcoming challenges including domestic abuse and sexism. Langham recently took a masterclass in inclusive and active learning. Over spring break, he led Pacific's five Brubeck Fellows to Paraguay to build a Habitat for Humanity house and perform concerts for and with local school children, building upon the legacy of international diplomacy and humanism exemplified by Dave '42 and Iola Brubeck '45.