First awarded in 2014, the A. Philip Randolph Award for Diversity and Inclusion is given to a University of Pennsylvania faculty or staff member who has demonstrated a deep commitment to aid the Penn community in becoming more celebratory and inclusive of diversity. The award is presented by the COCO Senior Societies, which includes Cipactli Latino Honor Society, Onyx Senior Honor Society, Oracle Senior Honor Society, and Carriage Senior Society, as a means to show our appreciation as leaders representing the Latino, African-American, Asian Pacific Islander, and LGBTQIA and ally communities.
Valerie De Cruz has served as the Director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Greenfield Intercultural Center for the past 18 years; this Center’s mission is to be Penn’s resource for enhancing student’s intercultural knowledge, competency, and leadership through our programs, advising, and advocacy. We can not be thankful enough for her significant efforts in creating the cultural resource centers that many Penn students, including many members of our own senior societies, see as homes away from home, and which are affiliated with Onyx, Cipactli, and Oracle, respectively: Makuu, La Casa Latina and the Pan-Asian American Community House.
Reverend Charles “Chaz” Howard’s official responsibility is to oversee religious life at the University of Pennsylvania as the University Chaplain. Despite the large endeavor associated with his Chaplain duties, he has taken on a lot more at his alma mater by teaching in Penn’s Programs for Awareness in Cultural Education (PACE) as well as in the College of Arts and Sciences, known for his course The Heart of Social Change, and aiding in students’ crisis responses. More importantly, Rev. Chaz Howard has, again and again, been a mentor and a friend to countless Penn students, religious or not, by creating the time to talk, to pray, or to do whatever else may be needed of him.