Originally posted by the Stevens Point Journal
The first-ever Chancellor’s Medals for Commitment to Diversity were presented to seven people, including long-time area residents, at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in May.
The medal celebrates diversity and honors those who embrace this commitment, Chancellor Bernie Patterson said in introducing the recognition of current and former UW-Stevens Point students.
“Their lives are enriched because they have enriched the lives of others.”
Those honored were:
Dave Marie, Plover, who graduated from UW-Stevens Point in 1974, one of only 15 black students on campus at the time. About to retire from working as a physician assistant at Ministry Health Care for more than 40 years, Marie’s “real mission in life is to serve others,” said Laura Gehrman Rottier, alumni director. He has been active in charitable groups in the community, Rotary and the Boys and Girls Club as well as raising funds to help students in his native West Indies. He serves on the UW-Stevens Point Alumni Association Board of Directors.
Scott West, Stevens Point, a graduate of and admissions counselor at UW-Stevens Point since 1985. He has worked closely and passionately with students of diversity and been an integral part of the Noel Compass group. He travels the country to encourage students to consider attending UW-Stevens Point and is a caring friend and resource to those who do. In presenting the award, John and Patty Noel called West the epitome of a servant leader, who “carefully weaves a fabric of trust.”
Robert and Rachel Lent, Wisconsin Rapids, who hosted a high school student from the country of Georgia. When they learned her parents could not pay for her college education, they postponed their retirement to help Darina Markozashvili complete her degree at UW-Stevens Point. She excelled here and now works for the World Bank.
“Bob and Rachel Lent are ordinary people who did something extraordinary for someone they had no obligation to help,” said Marcia Mace, a coordinator in the International Students and Scholars Office.
David Boardman and Ryan Specht, both of Madison, who were Student Government Association leaders and graduated in 2014. With sharp focus and a commitment to equity, they worked with university leaders and students to improve campus. With the Gender Sexuality Alliance, they helped create LGBTQ+ Safe Zone training for students and staff and hire a gender and sexuality outreach coordinator on campus.
Ta Xiong, Milwaukee, who will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in English. In her role as inclusivity director for the Student Government Association, she developed an inclusivity tool to help first-year students better understand cultural differences. She led the first campus-wide diversity listening session and has served on the campus Diversity Council for four years.
Diversity of U.S. and international students at UW-Stevens Point has doubled between 2006 and 2016 from 6.6 percent to 13 percent of overall enrollment, Patterson said.