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October 5, 2022

SVSU again recognized by national magazine for outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion

University received 2022 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT into Diversity

Man standing in front of flip chart

Saginaw Valley State University has again garnered recognition for its commitment to diversity and inclusion, receiving the 2022 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.  

The HEED Award is a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. SVSU is one of 103 recipients of the 2022 award and will be featured in the November 2022 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. This is the third year SVSU has been named as a HEED Award recipient. 

“We have made it a high priority to create a campus environment where everyone feels welcomed and included,” said SVSU President Don Bachand. “We have hosted a courageous conversations series for faculty and staff. We created a new space on campus for our Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, and we opened our Riverfront Saginaw Center to increase our accessibility to the community. I am proud of the work our students, faculty and staff have done to earn this distinction.” 

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine selected SVSU for its efforts to enhance diversity and inclusion. Two of the university’s accomplishments are noteworthy: 

  • Establishment of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council at SVSU 

    This council, which functions under the direction of SVSU’s Office of Diversity Programs, has identified a number of goals focused on recruiting, retaining, engaging students and faculty and enhancing the experiences on campus. The council’s strategic plan tracks the goals, which are administered by subcommittees comprising more than 50 members of the campus community, including students, faculty, staff and administrators. 

  • Rural student success efforts 

SVSU recently received a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support rural student success. This program assists this population by allowing for expansion of existing programs and the development of new programs related to college preparedness and access, student retention and success, and employability. 

“The HEED Award process consists of a comprehensive and rigorous application that includes questions relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees — and best practices for both — leadership support for diversity, campus culture and climate, supplier diversity, and many other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “We take a detailed approach to reviewing each application in deciding who will be named a HEED Award recipient. Our standards are high, and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being done every day across their campus.” 

Mamie Thorns, SVSU associate vice president and chief diversity officer for diversity, equity and inclusion, said the HEED Award application process served as a good reminder of the university’s efforts around DE&I and helped lay the roadmap for future endeavors.  

“The HEED Award application process was an opportunity to examine and reflect on the University's DEI work, document our journey and reflect upon our steps, and to share this story,” she said. “It serves as an assessment of where we've been and where we need to go. This process serves as insight for future goals and initiatives as we welcome to campus a new president who will be joining our conversation on diversity, equity and inclusion.” 

Joni Boye-Beaman, SVSU professor emeritus of sociology and a member of the DE&I Council observed that increasing diversity and inclusion is a campus-wide effort 

“As we put the HEED application together, we spent time reviewing university initiatives, programs and campus outreach, as well as collecting information from approximately 50 individuals from across campus whose work contributes to diversity and inclusion. As a result, we were able to put together a rich application highlighting many of the efforts and successes on our campus. The process also allowed us the opportunity to identify the areas in which we can —and will — do better.” 

To see the full list of 2022 HEED Award recipients, visit 

For more information about the 2022 HEED Award, visit