Texas Tech University

Rawls College to Host Annual Diversity Symposium and Rawls Day with Theme “Where You Belong”

Hailey Walker


The Jerry S. Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University will host the fifth annual Rawls Diversity Symposium Wednesday through Friday, Sept. 11 – Sept. 13. In conjunction with the Diversity Symposium, the college will also hold their annual Rawls Day celebration on Thursday, Sept. 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. This year, both events will focus on diversity and inclusion with their theme "Where You Belong."

As core values of Rawls College, diversity and inclusion are essential in fostering a culture that respects the unique qualities of every student, staff and faculty member. "Human beings all have the need and desire to feel safe and to be valued in our personal lives and also in our work and educational environments," said Margaret L. Williams, dean of Rawls College. "This feeling of psychological safety is what allows students and employees to participate and achieve at their highest levels."

The decision to couple the Rawls Diversity Symposium with Rawls Day was driven by the college's desire to emphasize the importance of diversity and inclusion while providing tangible means for students to get involved in an environment "Where You Belong."

"This message is important for everyone in Rawls to hear and implement, so it made perfect sense for this to be the unifying theme of the Diversity Symposium and Rawls Day which are both celebrations of our college to which all students, staff, and faculty, are invited," said Williams. "When the idea was proposed, we all thought – 'why hadn't we thought of this before?'"

Rawls Diversity Symposium

Established in 2014, the Rawls Diversity Symposium provides perspectives from experts in academia, the workforce and students on the positive effects diversity has both economically and socially. The event will feature various speakers, discussion panels and question-and-answer sessions on a variety of topics related to diversity in the marketplace.

The symposium will commence with a special keynote address from Rawls alumnus, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. and president of Wendy Mas Consulting, Wendy Masiello. "In the 36 years I was in the Air Force, the percentage of women grew from 12.5 to 20 percent; while the statistics indicate greater diversity in gender, the rest of the story is measured by inclusion," Masiello said. "Diversity is good, but for me, inclusion was the game-changer." Hear more about Masiello's story during her keynote address on Wednesday, September 11, at 5:30 p.m. in room 105 of Rawls College.

Following Masiello's speech, a student diversity panel will discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion efforts within Rawls College. The discussion will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will be moderated by Adrienne Carnes, senior director of undergraduate services, and Mychael Solis-Wheeler, research administrator. To conclude the evening's events, all symposium attendees will be invited to a reception at 7:30 p.m. in the McCoy Atrium.

On Thursday, September 12, at 5:15 p.m., Barry Broughton, director of the Rawls Career Management Center, and Kirsten Cook, associate professor of accounting, will moderate a panel of forward-thinking company representatives as they discuss the importance of a diverse workforce. The panel will include representatives from Grant Thornton, Pioneer Natural Resources, Edward Jones, GEICO, Enterprise Holdings, DHL Supply Chain and Southwest Airlines. Thursday's events will conclude with a reception at 6:30 p.m. in the McCoy Atrium.

Events on Friday, September 13, begin at 8:30 a.m. with a meet-and-greet reception in the Fireplace Room of the McCoy Atrium. After donuts and coffee are served, Cook and Andrea Romi, associate professor of accounting, will provide an overview of the diversity and inclusion climate within Rawls College.

Rawls College invites all members of the Texas Tech University and Lubbock community to attend the free symposium.

For more information about the Diversity and Inclusion Symposium, visit http://www.depts.ttu.edu/rawlsbusiness/about/diversity/.

Rawls Day

More than 15 student organizations and resource offices will gather to celebrate the fall semester during the college's annual Rawls Day event, Thursday, Sept. 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on the back patio of Rawls College. During the event, students can visit each organization's table to gather information and learn how they can get involved. Rawls Day is an excellent opportunity for students to explore the assortment of student organizations and resources Rawls College offers.

"Rawls Day illustrates the importance of being engaged and involved by showing what can be achieved when staff, faculty, students, and alumni come together for a common purpose," Program Director for Student Engagement, Lyda Stokes, said.

As part of this year's "Where You Belong" theme, Rawls Day will include several interactive activities for students to express their unique place within the Rawls community. A custom-built Double T will be decorated with ribbon, in which students will write the names of those who helped them get to Rawls. Additionally, postcards will be available for students to write personal messages to those who have impacted their college experience and a map will span the courtyard for students to place a pin to mark their home town/country.

"Every student is a valued and cherished member of our community, and many of the resources we offer to students would not be possible without the generous contributions of Mr. Jerry Rawls," said Stokes. "Mr. Rawls is committed to serving our college with a humble heart, commitment to excellence, and servant leadership–values we wish to impart upon our students and community."

A free buffet-style lunch will include cuisine from several countries to represent the different cultures within Rawls College. Students will also receive a free Rawls Day t-shirt, while supplies last, to help commemorate the day's events.

Rawls College student organizations and academic departments are encouraged to reserve booths for the event. Requests for booths must be received by 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 9. To request a booth reservation, complete this form.

For additional information regarding Rawls Day, contact Lyda Stokes at lyda.stokes@ttu.edu.

*Start and end times for Rawls Day were updated on Sept. 6.