Celebrate Diversity Awards Banquet

Celebrate Diversity Banquet

Each Fall, the Division of Institutional Diversity, Equity & Community Engagement hosts the Celebrate Diversity Awards Banquet to recognize those within the Texas Tech and Lubbock communities who exemplify Inclusive Excellence. Additionally, the recipients of the Senator Robert L. Duncan Community Champion Award are recognized.

This year’s banquet will be held on Wednesday, October 12th at 7:00 p.m. in the McKenzie-Merket Alumni Center. Actor LeVar Burton was initially scheduled to serve as the keynote, but had to cancel due to a death in his family. We are pleased to announce that actress Grace Gealey Byers will serve as this year's keynote speaker.

Byers is best known for role as Anika Calhoun in the Fox series, "Empire". Byers was raised in the Cayman Islands by her African American mother and Caucasian father. Both of her parents are deaf and thus, she was raised learning sign language and understanding what it meant to be a child of deaf adults (CODA). She moved to America alone to attend the University of South Florida in Tampa, where she received a B.A. in Theater Arts. Following college, Byers attended the University of California Irvine's graduate program and obtained her M.F.A in acting.

Past speakers for the event include; James Edward Olmos, Terrence Howard, Soledad O'Brien, John Quiñones and former U.S. Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera.

Individual tickets for the banquet are for $75 and $100 (VIP) each. Tables of eight are available $1,000 and $1,500 (VIP). VIP includes premium seating, admittance to the VIP Reception and photo with Mrs. Byers. All table purchasers will receive recognition in the banquet’s printed program and through public announcement during the event.

Sponsorship information is available here . To purchase sponsorships, tables or tickets via credit/debit card, click here. For more information please call (806)742-8692. Proceeds from the event will benefit student scholarships.

Award Recipients

Senator Robert L. Duncan Community Champion Award

2006 Senator Robert L. Duncan
2007 Linda DeLeon
2008 Learn, Inc.
2009 100 Black Men of West Texas
Peggy A. Duran-Klenclo
2010 Eric Strong
2011 Carolina Ysasaga
2012 David Seim
2013 Quincy White
2014 Bart Reagor
2015 Marciano & Martha Morales

Inclusive Excellence Award Recipients

2009 Kelly Overley
Dr. Juan S. Muñoz
2011 Rene Davis
Calvin Davis
Dr. Lawrence Schovanec
2012 Grace Hernandez
Yuan Shu
2013 Dr. Aliza Wong
Eric Strong
2014 Kirby Hocutt
Cathy Pope
Becky Wilson
2015 Kent Meredith
Chris Snead

For more information regarding the Celebrate Diversity Awards Banquet or the Inclusive Excellence Awards, please email diversity@ttu.edu