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March 29, 2022

SVSU’s chief diversity officer receives national award

Mamie T. Thorns, associate vice president and chief diversity officer for diversity, equity and inclusion at Saginaw Valley State University has been honored with the 2022 Dr. Frank Hale, Jr. Award from the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education.  

Thorns received the award for her contributions to advancing the understanding of diversity, equity and inclusive excellence in higher education. 

“Under Dr. Thorns’ persistent watch at our institution, we work to achieve institutional inclusive excellence and this mantra has become part of the SVSU culture,” said SVSU President Donald J. Bachand. 

Thorns joined SVSU in 2002 and has over 30 years of administrative experience in higher education. In her current role, she leads SVSU’s programs related to diversity, equal opportunity and Title IX. She serves as a primary advisor to SVSU’s president and leads a community-based advisory council that focuses on matters related to maintaining and enhancing a diverse and dynamic campus environment. Thorns chairs SVSU’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, which advises and implements innovative programs for the campus and the Great Lakes Bay Region. 

In nominating her for the award, Bachand highlighted Thorns’ leadership in several areas. SVSU has:  

  • Established measurable goals for the recruitment of Black, Hispanic and other students of color. 
  • Secured funding for and completed an Inclusive Excellence study for SVSU. Study results will be used for university strategic planning in 2022. 
  • Opened the SVSU Multicultural Student Center in fall of 2021. 
  • Developed an academic major in Black studies. 
  • Updated the university’s Inclusion Advocate program and hiring practices. 

Thorns accepted the award at the association’s annual conference in San Diego on March 18. 

Named in memory of a former vice provost for minority affairs and professor at The Ohio State University, the Dr. Frank Hale Jr. Award is presented to an individual who has made substantial contributions to diversity and inclusive excellence in higher education, exercised innovative and courageous leadership, demonstrated a robust record of consistent service for inclusive excellence.