University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

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Larine Y. Cowan Make a Difference Awards

The 2020 Larine Y. Cowan Award Recipients
The 2020 Larine Y. Cowan Award Recipients. From left to right: Robin Fretwell Wilson, Meghan Burke, Ann Fredricksen, Kimberly J. Shinew, and Eboni M. Zamani-Gallaher

The Larine Y. Cowan Make a Difference Awards celebrate the achievements of faculty, academic professionals and civic service employees who made significant contributions in creating and sustaining an inclusive living, learning and working community at Illinois. Named in honor of the past Assistant Chancellor and Director of what is now the Office for Access & Equity, the Larine Y. Cowan Awards were created to reflect the commitment to human rights advocacy, social justice, and diversity that defined her leadership for nearly 20 years at Illinois.

How to Nominate

Nominations are now open for the 2021 Cowan Awards. Deadline: Friday, September 10, 2021. Award categories are as follows:

  • Advocacy for LGBTQ Affairs, honoring students, staff, or faculty who have demonstrated their commitment to supporting and promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) affairs at Illinois. LGBTQ Affairs Nomination Form.
  • Excellence in Access and Accommodations, honoring individuals or campus units for their efforts to expand and improve the utilization of programs and structures by persons with disabilities. Access and Accommodations Nomination Form.
  • Leadership in Diversity, honoring nominees who demonstrate exceptional dedication to and success in promoting diversity and inclusion via research, hiring practices, courses, programs, and events. Leadership in Diversity Nomination Form.
  • Teaching and Mentoring in Diversity, honoring faculty, instructors, or lecturers who have consistently contributed to the promotion of understanding critical issues related to diversity and equity in teaching and/or the mentoring of diverse students. Teaching and Mentoring in Diversity Nomination Form.

Nomination Process

Nominations may be submitted by any member of the University community (co-worker, supervisor, adviser, dean or department head, student).

Nominations may include a statement from the nominator as well as two additional statements of support. Statements of support should be uploaded to the nomination form.

Nomination statements, including specific examples, should describe the nominee’s accomplishments at the University of Illinois related to the category. For faculty and staff nominees, greater consideration will be given to those individuals whose accomplishments are above and beyond standard job responsibilities. For specific information, please see the nomination form for each category.

The Cowan Awards are presented each year during the Annual Celebration of Diversity hosted by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

Past Recipients

Advocacy for LGBTQ Affairs

2020 – Robin Fretwell Wilson

2019 – Amy L. Powell

2018 – Keiko Price

2017 – Johnell Bentz

2016 – Andrea Cailles

2015 – Manuel Colón

2014 – Alejandro Gómez

2013 – Louis Bergonzi

2012 – Michael Parrish

Excellence in Access and Accommodations

2020 – Meghan Burke and Ann Fredricksen

2019 – M.T. Hudson

2018 – Christy Blew

2017 – Stacy Dymond

2016 – Elevator Control Team

2015 – Joseph D. Minarik

2014 – Reggie Alston

2013 – University Housing

2012 – Timothy Offenstein

Leadership in Diversity

2020 – Kimberly J. Shinew

2019– Ruby Mendenhall

2018 – Harley Johnson

2017 – Tony Franklin and Brenda Wilson

2016 – Lynford Goddard and Toni Pitts

2015 – Jonathan Inda, Ronald Bailey, and Assata Zerai

2014 – Melvin Boatner

2013 – D. Lynette O’Neal

2012 – Avé Alvarado

Teaching and Mentoring in Diversity

2020 – Eboni M. Zamani-Gallaher

2019 – Monika Stodolska

2018 – Isabel Molina-Guzman

2017 – Mikhail Lyubansky

2016 – Nicole Cooke

2015 – Janet Carter-Black and Stephen Zimmerman

2014 – Stacy Harwood, Jan Eckert and Andrew Alleyne

2013 – Adrian Burgos, Jr.

2012 – Menah Pratt-Clarke

2011 (no specific categories)

Kimberly Alexander-Brown

Chris Benson

Elyne Cole

Jesse Thompson, Jr.


James Anderson

Wendy Heller

Sheri Shaw


East Saint Louis Action Research Project

Susan Linnemeyer

Alejandro Lugo

Anna Tsai


College of Education

Facilities and Services


Helen Neville

Feniosky A. Pena-Mora