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First Openly Transgender U.S. Navy Seal Helping Build USF’s Momentum Toward Inclusive Excellence

Kristin Beck, the first openly transgender former U.S. Navy Seal, speaks during the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity (DIEO) Inaugural Inclusive Excellence Luncheon.

USF is continuing to enhance its commitment to creating a safe and welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ students, faculty and staff.

These efforts were celebrated during the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity (DIEO) Inaugural Inclusive Excellence Luncheon with keynote speaker Kristin Beck, the first openly transgender former U.S. Navy Seal. Beck served the military for 20 years before her transition, conducting operations over the course of 13 deployments and seven combat missions.

"We are committed to creating an environment that is safe and welcoming for all and to value the contributions of all.” -Haywood Brown, MD, vice president of institutional equity.

She’s been awarded more than 50 ribbons and medals including the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal. Beck shared the challenges and triumphs of being a transgender woman, aligning with USF’s efforts to continue creating a positive climate for the LGBTQ+ community.

“Recognizing Kristin Beck’s story of incredible accomplishments as a United States Navy Seal and life changing experiences as a transgender woman is exactly what this luncheon aimed to do. We are committed to creating an environment that is safe and welcoming for all and to value the contributions of all,” said Haywood Brown, MD, vice president of institutional equity.

DIEO also launched the National Model of Excellence for Diversity & Inclusion which aims to recognize individual units of the University who achieve the highest levels of diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity pursuant to a belief that enhancing the sum of many parts will in turn, enhance the whole. The departments, colleges and institutes who are awarded this distinction will have demonstrated significant accomplishments in specific areas of inclusive excellence outlined by the Model: Training, Dialoguing, Diversity Teaching, Hiring (Faculty/Staff), Retention (Students and Faculty/Staff), Diversity Research, Diversity Programming and establishment of diversity committees.

During the luncheon DIEO also recognized the contributions of individual faculty, staff, and students through the 2019 Diversity Awards.

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