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Honored for Inclusion

DATE: Tuesday, January 26, 2021

President Christina Royal recognized for leadership on equity, diversity and inclusion

HCC president Christina RoyalHCC president Christina Royal is one of just a handful of college presidents nationwide to be recognized for outstanding leadership on the issues of diversity, equity and inclusion by the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the education technology company Cengage.

Locally, President Royal shares that honor with Yves Salomon-Fernández, president of Greenfield Community College, and Harry E. Dumay, president of Our Lady of the Elms in Chicopee. They are among 13 college presidents to receive the AAC&U-Cengage Inclusion Scholarship.

The scholarship recognizes college and university presidents whose outstanding leadership to advance liberal education has resulted in reduced equity gaps, improved inclusion and belonging for minoritized students, and reformed hiring practices to promote greater diversity. 

The recipients were announced Fri., Jan. 22, at the AAC&U Presidents' Trust Symposium, part of the AAC&U Virtual Annual Meeting. The Presidents' Trust Symposium brings together higher education leaders from all institutional types to explore the most pressing issues facing colleges and universities and to share strategies for success. 

"I'm grateful for the AAC&U-Cengage Inclusion Scholarship and to join several other presidents in advancing higher education," said Royal. "HCC is an institution that values liberal arts education and is striving to address the inequities experienced by many populations we serve. The tenets of democracy have never been so important, and education is the pathway to civic engagement, and social and economic mobility." 

President Royal is also being honored Thursday, Jan. 28, as one of the 2020 Women of Impact by Business West magazine

"AAC&U is proud to recognize and support these exceptional leaders in their efforts to advance equity and quality as hallmarks of a liberal education across a diverse range of campuses and student populations," said AAC&U president Lynn Pasquerella. 

The AAC&U-Cengage Inclusion Scholarship recognizes higher education leaders who support and advance quality, equity, and student success in undergraduate education. This includes improving degree completion or transfer for students from underrepresented groups; closing equity gaps in student success; improving diversity in hiring practices and creating more equitable hiring policies; and increasing the sense of belonging, well-being, and inclusion among students from historically underserved populations (e.g., racial and ethnic minorities, religious minorities, and LGBTQIA students).  

"We are so excited to be able to support these amazing higher ed leaders who are making a real difference by reducing inequities and increasing access to education," said Fernando Bleichmar, executive vice president and general manager for U.S. Higher Education at Cengage. "At Cengage, we believe learning transforms lives, and the work of these leaders is so critical in giving students the opportunity to better their lives and in creating an educated, informed, and just society." 

In recognition of their accomplishments, the AAC&U-Cengage Inclusion Scholarship recipients will each receive a one-year, complimentary AAC&U campus membership and a one-year complimentary membership in the AAC&U Presidents' Trust, a diverse network of chief executive officers who are committed to advancing the vision, values, and practices that connect liberal education with the needs of an increasingly diverse student body, a global workforce, and thriving communities. The Trust provides members with access to dedicated resources and events as well as exclusive opportunities to promote their thought leadership.

PHOTO by CHRIS YURKO: President Christina Royal visits the HCC MGM Culinary Arts institute.