13th Annual Unity Luncheon Honors Ingrid Johnson

13th Annual Unity Luncheon Honors Ingrid Johnson
Ingrid Johnson accepts the Diversity Leadership Award from Penni Sweetenburg-Lee during the 13th annual Unity Luncheon.
Ten faculty and student leaders were honored as “diversity champions” at the Unity Luncheon.
William B. Harvey, vice president of the Washington, D.C.-based American Council on Education (ACE) and director of its Center for Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Equity, delivered the keynote address.

The 13th annual Unity Luncheon, ?Pressing On: Enhancing Diversity in Turbulent Times,? provided faculty, staff, students and honored guests an opportunity to demonstrate their diversity while celebrating unity. This year?s event, held Jan. 26 in the Bronco Student Center, drew the largest crowd in the history of the luncheon. Nearly 400 people (up from last year?s 240), including 100 students, attended, and some even dressed in cultural/ethnic attire.

The Unity Luncheon was co-sponsored by the Asian Pacific Faculty, Staff & Student Association; the Black Faculty & Staff Association (BFSA); the Latino Faculty, Staff & Student Association; and Pride Alliance. Each year, leadership for the luncheon rotates between these groups, and this year?s event was organized by BFSA.

?All of us at Cal Poly Pomona are blessed to study, work and live in a campus community that values excellence and diversity,? said Jim Norfleet, chair of the Unity Luncheon Committee. ?We?re justifiably proud of the progress we?ve made in transforming our institution into one of the nation?s finest and most diverse universities.
?We must not, however, rest on our laurels and allow current challenges to weaken our commitment to diversity and equity,? he said.

?We must reject proposals to eliminate outreach and educational equity programs that contribute much to our campus and benefit thousands of students who seek academic excellence and bright futures.?

William B. Harvey, vice president of the Washington, D.C.-based American Council on Education (ACE) and director of its Center for Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Equity, delivered the keynote address. He challenged the university to develop strategies for enhancing educational access and diversity in a period marked by uncertainty.

?We are facing a period of great change,? said Harvey. ?Each of us has to decide for ourselves how to contribute to make a future better than the present and the past. We have the opportunity and the responsibility to inspire and instruct the leaders of the next generation, and we have an opportunity to help them develop a vision of the American society that will be based upon inclusion rather than exclusion, a society that will be based on participation rather than elimination. This is a society in which the dream of freedom and equality is true.?

New university President J. Michael Ortiz and his wife, Betty, were welcomed by luncheon organizers and presented with a piece of African artwork as a gift.

The third Diversity Leadership Award, which recognizes individuals who are advocates and leaders in the area of diversity both on and off campus, was presented to Diamond Bar resident Ingrid C. Johnson, a community leader and co-founder of the Council of African American Parents (CAAP), a parent/community driver nonprofit organization. For the past several years, Johnson has worked with Cal Poly Pomona to enhance the educational opportunities of students through academics, social activities and cultural awareness.

?We are honored that this campus is her partner, and we owe her a great tribute,? said Joan Bissell, dean of the College of Education & Integrative Studies.

In addition, 10 faculty, staff and students were honored as ?diversity champions? for their leadership and service to the university. Awardees included student leaders Tinashe Chapfika, Carlos Garcia, Alexandria Hunter, Vivian Lo and Veronica Rojas; and faculty members Toni Humber, Rebecca Gutierrez Keeton, Jeffery Mio, Dorothy Wills and Carol Zitzer-Comfort.

The event also included an opportunity drawing that raised $1,458 for student scholarships.