Margaret McLaren and Meghan Thomas Named Recipients of Award for Diversity and Inclusion

May 06, 2011

Margaret McLaren
Photo by Oriana Guevara


The President’s Award for Diversity and Inclusion was established in 2009 as a means of recognizing and honoring students, faculty and staff for their efforts aimed at promoting diversity awareness, representation and inclusion within the Rollins workplace and student community. The award is granted annually to a student, faculty and staff member whose contributions and actions over time best exemplify the principles and ideals of diversity and inclusion.

This year, the Rollins Diversity Council solicited and received nominations from many deserving students, faculty and staff, and following careful deliberation, recommended George D. and Harriet W. Cornell Endowed Chair of Philosophy Margaret McLaren as this year’s faculty recipient and Meghan Thomas (Class of 2011) as the student recipient of the award.

McLaren’s commitment to diversity has been as varied as it has been consistent for the nearly two decades that she has been at Rollins. What is most remarkable about her commitment to diversity is that it extends equally to her teaching, scholarship and service. Her attention to gender and women’s issues is evident in her frequent leadership of the women’s studies minor and Voices for Women, her role in establishing the Lucy Cross Center for Women and their Allies, not to mention numerous courses on gender and sexuality.

She has co-taught courses addressing globalization and its impact on women’s lives in Mexico and, soon, in Morocco. She's researched women’s cooperatives in India as a means of raising awareness about economic justice issues. An active scholar, she has published on the topic of women’s economic empowerment, as well as ways in which theory and philosophy can be applied to social justice action.

In the community, she is an ally of the Apopka Farmworker Community and spoke publicly in support of adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the Orlando and Orange County antidiscrimination ordinances.

McLaren was recently honored with the Florida Campus Compact (FL|CC) Service-Learning Faculty Award, an award given to individuals, projects and organizations in higher education that greatly enhance learning while working with the community to address societal issues.

Meghan Thomas
Photo by Oriana Guevara

At the awards ceremony, Meghan Thomas was applauded for her energetic personality, passion and commitment to the mission of promoting diversity and inclusion at Rollins. As an undergraduate, she demonstrated a commitment to diversity teachings through her involvement in various organizations on campus whose mission it is to educate and create awareness of diversity and social justice issues.

As part of her work with the Office of Multicultural Affairs, she wrote articles relating to cultural organizations, and diversity and multiculturalism for The Sandspur. She was involved in organizing and facilitating several multicultural retreats and coordinating college-wide events such as Spoken Word and Drum Circles events. As president of Spectrum, the LGBTIQQPA student organization, Thomas organized the largest group in Rollins history to march in the Orlando Pride Parade. She is highly respected by her peers for her work within the student community.

The staff recipient of the President's Award for Diversity and Inclusion will be honored at the end of year celebration later this month.

By Kristen Manieri

Office of Public Relations & Community Affairs
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