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Drexel Athletics Recipient of NCAA Overall Excellence in Diversity Award

May 15, 2008

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which oversees 1,200 member institutions and over 300,000 student-athletes, has awarded the Drexel University Athletics Department the Diversity in Athletics Award in the category of Overall Excellence in Diversity.

“We are proud to receive this award,” said Drexel University President Constantine Papadakis. “Diversity is an integral part of the college experience at Drexel. Our students and athletes enrich their education by interacting with students and employees from all walks of life and highly diverse backgrounds.”

A research study supported by the NCAA and conducted by the Laboratory for Diversity in Sports at Texas A&M University identified Drexel University as one of the top athletics programs to have achieved the highest total combined scores in the areas of diversity strategy, gender and racial diversity of departmental employees, value and attitudinal diversity of departmental employees, graduation of African-American females and male student-athletes, and gender equity compliance. Besides Drexel Athletics, 11 other schools were recognized including Stanford, Miami, Ohio State and Colorado. Drexel Athletics was also singled out as an award recipient in the category of African American graduation rates for female student-athletes.

The NCAA Award in Diversity will be awarded on June 11 in Dallas, the site of the National Association of Collegiate Athletic Directors (NACDA). The Laboratory for Diversity in Sports at Texas A&M University will perform a site visit at the top five diversity programs, including Drexel, to learn about the Athletics Department’s approach to diversity, which will be used to develop a NCAA diversity best practices report for intercollegiate athletics programs.

Drexel Athletics has been ranked by US News & World Report as the #1 program nationally in gender equity. The Women’s Law Project examined gender equity in Pennsylvania’s interscholastic athletics programs and ranked Drexel’s athletics program in the top five as a program that provides equitable athletic opportunities for women. Drexel Athletics boasts substantial gender proportionally and a 100 percent graduation rate for African American females.

“We have a responsibility as a university athletics department to initiate a meaningful dialogue around the topic of diversity,” said Drexel Athletics Director Dr. Eric Zillmer. “We must ask ourselves, how diversity can broaden and enrich our experiences, our athletic teams, and our workplace as we face an ever-increasing multi-cultural society. This recognition by the NCAA not only validates our commitment to diversity, but it also allows us to celebrate it.”

Tom Yeager, commissioner of the Colonial Athletics Association said, “Drexel’s athletic program has received many accolades over the past several years and this is another important statement about the excellence of the University’s program and its commitment to student-athletes and staff. The Colonial Athletics Association shares Drexel’s pride.”

Charlotte Westerhaus, NCAA vice president for Diversity and Inclusion, said, “The Diversity in Athletics Awards not only provide visibility for member schools with good practices, but also create dialogue that focuses on the essential need for diversity and inclusion in athletics and higher education.

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