University of South Florida


Female student with other students in the foreground

USF earns national award for excellence in diversity and inclusion

The University of South Florida is a recipient of the 2022 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award, which recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. This is the third time that USF has earned this honor, which is presented by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

“The University of South Florida is honored to receive the HEED award and to be nationally recognized for our steadfast commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion," USF President Rhea Law said. “USF is focused on providing a safe and inclusive community that welcomes diverse perspectives and promotes access and opportunity. This work is an essential component of our strategic plan and helps shape our university’s bold path forward.”

Diversity and inclusion are primary goals of USF’s five-year strategic plan unveiled in January.  The plan prioritizes recruiting and retaining diverse students, faculty and staff, as well as enhancing programs to be inclusive of different perspectives.  

The university continues to build on initiatives in support of these objectives and develop new strategies in this area.  For example, the USF Latino Scholarship Program has provided opportunities to thousands of students in the Tampa Bay region over the past 30 years and the USF Black Leadership Network launched in 2016 offers scholarships, mentoring and professional development for students across all three USF campuses. USF’s Guaranteed Admissions Pathway Program is designed to create partnerships with local high schools to increase admissions opportunities for students of underserved populations. In addition, a group formed last year at USF, the Advancing Latino Access and Success Task Force, is working to further advance the university’s commitment to Latino student access and success.

"Inclusive excellence allows the University of South Florida to empower our communities with knowledge, skills and opportunities that allow individuals to step confidently into their life’s purpose with authenticity," said Dr. Tricia Penniecook, interim vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion. "This award belongs to every department at USF that collaborates daily to prioritize the work that leads to advancing our mission.”

USF is recognized as a national leader in student success and has been honored for graduating underrepresented minority and limited-income students at rates equal to or higher than white and higher income students.

USF will be featured, along with other recipients of the HEED Award, in the November 2022 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

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