The ACE Awards

The Accountability, Climate, and Equity (ACE) Awards, formerly known as the Diversity Awards, were renamed in 2016 in the spirit of the goals of the Texas A&M University Diversity Plan. As the Texas A&M Diversity Plan outlines, The Aggie family is diverse. The ACE Awards recognize the appreciation of our diversity, which involves an exploration of individual differences in a safe, positive, welcoming and nurturing, academic environment.  The ACE Awards center the three overarching goals of the Diversity Plan: Accountability, Climate, and Equity, which are infused throughout the award categories and are considered criteria for nomination.

The ACE Awards acknowledge and honor students, faculty and staff in honor of their demonstrated commitment to the Texas A&M core value of RESPECT by promoting respectful treatment of others, affirming and encouraging individuals to take pride in their social and cultural identities, and including all in their definition of the “Aggie Family.” The ACE Awards are sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs, Office for Diversity, Department of Multicultural Services, Disability Resources, Women’s Resource Center, Aggie Allies, LGBTQ+ Pride Center, Health Promotion, and Student Government Association Diversity Commission.

ACE Awards Logo

Watch the 2021 Virtual Ceremony here.

View the 2021 ACE Awards winners below

2021 Faculty Award Winner: Dr. Jessica Light
2021 Staff Award Winner: Melanie McKoin Owens
2021 Student Award Winner: Astha Mittal
2021 Student Organization Award Winner: Aggie Minority Women in Law
2021 Team Award Winner: The B.L.U.E.print (Black Leaders who Undertake Excellence)

The Diversity Service Award, sponsored by the Department of Multicultural Services, acknowledges and honors the efforts of students, faculty, staff, student organizations and university teams, committees, groups, or clubs for working to create an environment where the diversity of individual social identities and ideas are treated equitably in a climate that fosters success and achievement by all. Diversity Service Award recipients will be given in the categories of student, faculty, staff, and student organization. Nominees have demonstrated outstanding commitment to the value of diversity in the areas of accountability, climate, and equity exercised extraordinary efforts to take action against acts of insensitivity and incivility and diligently worked to provide students, faculty, and staff a university experience rich in perspectives and opportunities to learn from each other. Award recipients receive a $250 monetary award and a commemorative item.  University-affiliated teams will receive a commemorative item.

2021 Award Winner: KaKi KaKi

The Gary Gray Memorial Student Recognition Award, sponsored by the Disability Resources, recognizes a student or student group who promotes an inclusive environment at Texas A&M University by removing barriers for students with disabilities through education or inclusive activities. This award was established in 1994 in honor of Gary Gray, an Aggie who consistently challenged Texas A&M University to accommodate the needs of individuals with disabilities so that all students could actively participate in the Aggie experience. Award recipients receive a $250 monetary award and commemorative item.

2021 Award Winner: Academic Innovation Office

The Partners in Learning Award of Excellence, sponsored by Disability Resources, recognizes a staff member, faculty member, or administrator who has actively removed barriers for students with disabilities on campus. The recipient of this award should provide an example to others of inclusion through education, collaboration, and/or innovative practices. Award recipients receive a $250 monetary award and a commemorative item.

2021 Winner: Dr. Brian Larson

The Rainbow Award, sponsored by Aggie Allies, recognizes an individual who has demonstrated a commitment to diversity by serving as a role model and by contributing to the education of the Texas A&M University community regarding LGBTQ+ people and issues. Award recipients receive a commemorative item and monetary award of $100.

2021 Award Winner: Danny Roe

The Phyllis R. Frye Advocacy Award, sponsored by the LGBTQ+ Pride Center, recognizes work done in welcoming transgender faculty, students, and staff into the Aggie Family through creating safe spaces and raising the dialogue surrounding transgender realities at the interpersonal and institutional level in the higher education setting. Award recipients are shining examples of real work done at Texas A&M towards the acceptance and nurturance of transgender faculty, staff, and students. Award recipients receive a monetary award of $50 and a commemorative item.

2021 Administrator Award Winner: Dr. Amy Waer
2021 Faculty Award Winner: Dr. Kristan Poirot
2021 Staff Award Winner: Holly Kasperbauer
2021 Student Award Winner: Sara Amani

The Women’s Progress Award, sponsored by the Women’s Resource Center, honors students, staff, faculty, and administrators who encourage and promote sensitivity to and awareness of issues that relate to women.

Student nominees must be currently enrolled undergraduate or graduate students, who demonstrate commitment to an improved environment for women students and commitment to women’s issues through volunteer work, an elected position, advocacy, and/or other forms of leadership on or off campus.

Staff nominees must be non-faculty employees, who strive to improve the work environment for women and positively promote women in the workplace.

Faculty nominees must be tenure or non-tenure track faculty, who foster an environment that is supportive to the needs of women and provide class content and lectures that are inclusive in their approach and sensitivity to women’s issues.

Administrator nominees must be at department head level or above and encourage and direct attention to an improved environment for women through policy formation, goal-setting, programs, staff selection, etc. and positively promote women’s issues in the workplace.

Award recipients receive a commemorative item and $250 monetary award.

2021 Award Winner: Eta Sigma Gamma, Inc. – Alpha Pi Chapter
2021 Award Winner: Sophomores Leading, Impacting, Developing, & Educating (SLIDE)

The Stand Up Award, sponsored by Health Promotion, acknowledges students and student organizations who take action by stepping in and standing up against power-based personal violence, including acts of sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.

Nominees may have acted as a good bystander by interrupting a potential act of violence, supported a survivor in the aftermath of an assault, or demonstrated an outstanding effort to promote a culture of consent and respect around the message that power-based personal violence is not acceptable on our campus. Selected recipients will each receive a $250 monetary award and a commemorative item.

2021 Winners: College of Medicine: Sebastian Powell, Daphne Garcia, Humsini Viswanath, Sarah Joseph, Andrea Scott

The Diversity and Inclusion Initiative Award, sponsored by the Student Government Association Diversity Commission, is for a student or student organization that has successfully executed an event or program either small or large pertaining to Diversity and Inclusion in efforts to advance the campus climate of Texas A&M and educated members of the student body on issues including but not limited to: age, background, citizenship, disability, education, ethnicity, family status, gender, gender identity/expression, geographical location, language, military experience, political views, race, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and work experience.

2021 Winner: Dr. Lavern Holyfield

The Diversity Advocacy and Change Award, sponsored by Student Government Association Diversity Commission, is for a student, student organization or faculty member who has created notable, innovative and tangible change on campus related to Diversity. Examples include but are not limited to legislation, innovative research, and organizational reform/training.

Nomination Process

Nominations may be submitted by any member of the University community (co-worker, supervisor, adviser, dean or department head, student).  No self-nominations will be reviewed.

Nominations must be submitted online and include 1) a nomination letter from the nominator and 2) up to two additional letters of support.

Nomination statements, including specific examples, should describe the nominee’s eligibility for an award focused on Accountability, Climate, and Equity as outlined in the Texas A&M Diversity Plan, and how the nominee meets the specific award’s criteria as outlined in the Awards Categories section.  Letters of support are submitted with the understanding that the individual or group is being nominated and should shed additional rationale as to why the nominee is an ideal candidate for the award.  For faculty and staff nominees, greater consideration will be given to those individuals whose accomplishments are above and beyond standard job responsibilities.

For more information regarding the award process contact Dr. Tonya Driver, Director of the Department of Multicultural Services.

Selection Process

Review and selection of the Diversity Service Awards will be coordinated by the Department of Multicultural Services. The Rainbow Award will be selected by Aggie Allies. The Phyllis R. Frye Advocacy Award will be selected by the LGBTQ+ Pride Center.  The Gary Gray Memorial Student Recognition Award and The Partners in Learning Award of Excellence will be selected by staff from the Disability Resources. The Women’s Progress Award will be selected by a committee convened by the Women’s Resource Center. The Stand Up Award will be selected by staff of the Health Promotion. The Diversity Programming and Diversity Political Change Awards will be selected by members of the Student Government Association Diversity Commission.

Recipients of Diversity Awards

Click here for a list of all previous award recipients.