Presidents at Holyoke Community, Greenfield Community and Elms recognized for inclusion

The presidents of Holyoke Community College, Greenfield Community College and Elms College of Chicopee have been recognized for leadership in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion by the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the education technology company Cengage.

Thirteen college presidents nationwide received the AAC&U-Centage Inclusion Scholarship. Three were within 40 miles of each other in Western Massachusetts.

HCC President Christina Royal, GCC President Yves Salomon-Fernández and Elms President Harry E. Dumay were recognized for leadership to reduce equity gaps, improve inclusion and belonging for minority students, and reform hiring practices to promote diversity.

The criteria for consideration included improving degree completion or transfer for students from underrepresented groups; closing equity gaps in student success; improving diversity in hiring practices and creating more equitable hiring policies; and increasing the sense of belonging, well-being, and inclusion among students from historically underserved populations. Those include racial and ethnic minorities, religious minorities and LGBT students.

The AAC&U-Cengage Inclusion Scholarship recipients will each receive a one-year membership in the AAC&U Presidents’ Trust. The trust is a diverse network of CEOs committed to advancing the vision, values and practices that connect liberal education with the needs of an increasingly diverse student body, a global workforce and thriving communities.

“Growing up as a first-generation, low-income, multi-racial college student, I understand some of the challenges today’s students face and the importance of having an inclusive environment where everyone can thrive,” said Royal.

“These are very important issues to me personally and professionally, as well as to our college community,” Royal said.