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 image shows four people who are the 2023 award winners of the Larine Y. Cowan Awards.
Trina J. Wright-Dixon, Ph.D., Liam Moran, Mimi Thi Nguyen, and Toby Beauchamp were the 2023 winners of the Larine Y. Cowan Make A Difference Awards.

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 2024 Larine Y. Cowan Cowan Awards. Deadline: May 24, 2024. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Nomination Process

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

Please submit a nomination letter of one to three pages describing how the nominee most closely fits the criteria, including references to goals, description of the activity or activities, outcome(s), and the impact locally, nationally, or internationally. Include two (2) letters of support written by colleagues who have worked with and or benefited from the efforts of the nominee.

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.