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

Headshots of the four 2022 Cowan Award Recipients
The 2022 Larine Y. Cowan Make a Diffrence Award Recipients. From left to right: Ky Merkley, M. Nicholas Hoyt, Kevin E. Jackson, and Deanna Hence.

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 2023 Cowan Awards. Deadline: May 25, 2023. 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.