By Keith Pierce

ReNeé Dunman, assistant vice president for Institutional Equity and Diversity, was named the 2020 Old Dominion University John R. Broderick Diversity Champion Award winner during a virtual ceremony this month. Dunman was one of nine nominees for the annual award designed to honor and celebrate individuals who encourage and advance the principles of equity and diversity to promote the positive impact diversity has on the University community.

"Congratulations to all of our spring 2020 nominees. Many clearly went above and beyond the standard approach of doing things in their departments, colleges and throughout our community," Broderick said during the ceremony. "The president's award for diversity is a special honor reserved for one person or group who rose to the top."

Dunman has been focused on eliminating discrimination and promoting equity on the local, state and national levels. She served two terms as president of the American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity, a national professional organization for equal employment opportunity, affirmative action and diversity practitioners with more than 1,000 members. She serves on the state board of directors for the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities and the UNCF Hampton Roads Mayors Masked Ball planning committee.

At ODU, Dunman leads the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, where she created the Pathway Retention Award to promote persistence of underrepresented students, established three employee resource groups - the Hispanic Latino Employee Association, Employees with Disabilities Association and the LGBTQIA Association - and created a forum for challenging dialogue entitled CommUNITY Conversations.

Dunman also established and directed the President's Task Force for Inclusive Excellence and was instrumental in the University receiving national and local diversity awards - USA Today Best Places to Work (2014 and 2016), Hampton Roads Employer Diversity and Inclusion (2015), Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (2017) and Forbes Magazine Best Employers for Diversity (2019).

Dunman has been interviewed about diversity issues by CNN, the BBC, Court TV, Time Magazine, Inside Higher Ed, Diverse Issues, Atlanta Life Magazine, the Nebraska Times Journal and the Colorado Sentinel. She has advised the Norwegian government on affirmative action, as well as numerous U.S. legislators on equal employment and higher education-related legislation. During the Obama Administration, Dunman was invited to the White House twice to discuss her work.

Dunman will retire after more than 25 years at ODU.

"She is indeed a diversity champion and spent her career using her talents, time and treasures to promote equity diversity and inclusion," Broderick said. "Congratulations on a distinguished career of service. I can't thank you enough for what you've done to make this a better place for all of us."

Other 2020 Diversity Champions included:

  • Orlando Ayala, associate professor of mechanical engineering technology
  • Beth Ann Dickie, director, educational accessibility
  • Jane Dané, associate vice president for enrollment management
  • Jennifer Fish, department chair, women's studies
  • Emily Goodman-Scott, associate professor and graduate program director for school counseling
  • Michele Kekeh, associate director, Center for Global Health
  • Elizabeth Locke, director, clinical education for physical therapy
  • Allison Page, assistant professor, communication and theatre arts

"In these unprecedented times we must continue to recognize what is great in this world," said Veleka Gatling, director of diversity initiatives in the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity. "The individuals recognized today are a part of that greatness."

For additional information about the John R. Broderick Diversity Champion Award and the spring 2020 nominees and winner, visit

Related News Stories

Interim Dean of Darden College of Education and Professional Studies Education Appointed

Tammi Dice will assume the position when Dean Jane Bray retires at the end of May. (More)

ODU Receives Funding for Collaborative Projects from the Coastal Virginia Center for Cyber Innovation

Other participants in the initiative are William & Mary, Hampton University, MI Technical Solutions and CivilianCyber. (More)

ODU Celebrates Class of 2020 with a Virtual Commencement

President Broderick praised the “agility, innovation and determination” of the graduates. (More)