A passion both personally and professionally for diversity and multiculturalism has earned Emory & Henry College’s housing director a second major recognition in the past three years.
Jimmy Whited has been chosen to receive the PEACE Award (Providing Educational Advocacy for Cultural Excellence) by the Southeastern Association of Housing Officers (SEAHO).
The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the areas of advocacy, leadership, mentorship, educational initiatives, and programming.
For Whited, diversity, inclusivity and multiculturalism are important areas for the college to focus on in the production of scholars for the larger world. “When I arrived at Emory & Henry, I saw a need” for emphasizing diversity and inclusion, said Whited. “Many of the standards that college campuses celebrate were already here; I just tried to get things organized.”
Whited hopes his work is helping students see that the world is diverse and offers immense opportunities because of that diversity. He feels that as the college has continued to grow, more students are becoming receptive to each other and their appreciative of their differences.
“That is what being an inclusive campus is all about,” said Whited. “This is not to say that we are a perfect community, but rather we are a strong community that can weather the storms as they arise and come out better for the experience.”
Whited was previously honored in 2011 as the Outstanding Student Affairs Professional of the Year by the Virginia Association of Student Personnel Administrators (VASPA).
For Whited, the PEACE Award is one of his proudest moments. “It is an honor to be recognized for your work, but when you are honored for things you are passionate about outside the paid position, there is not much better than that,” Whited continued.
In nominatiing him for the award, Whited’s colleagues in the E&H Department of Student Life highlighted his work to include more inclusive language campus communications, his work in the classroom to showcase diversity, and on-campus work with the Gay Straight Alliance and the Safe Zone Network (a program aimed at creating safe places for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
“I am very honored to work in a department, a division, and an institution that pushes people to be their very best,” said Whited. “My supervisors support me in all my endeavors and that provides me with a firm foundation from which I can grow and expand the roll I have on campus both professionally and personally.”
Southeastern Association of Housing Officers includes housing professionals from Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas.