National Inclusive Excellence Award: a testament to the OSU Alumni Association’s DEIB values

April 15, 2024

Insight Into Diversity Magazine recognizes the OSUAA’s promotion of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging 

The Oregon State University Alumni Association has received the 2024 Alumni Association Inclusive Excellence Award from Insight Into Diversity magazine, the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education.

The Alumni Award honors alumni association’s programs, culture and initiatives that encourage and support diversity, equity, inclusion and a sense of belonging for all alumni, regardless of racial or ethnic background, sexual or gender identity, religion, socio-economic status, world view and more. 




“The Oregon State University Alumni Association is proud to be honored as a recipient of this prestigious award,” says Suzanne Flores Phillips, '05, Ed.M. '07, Director II of Alumni Diversity and Affinity Groups. “Our dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion is not merely a checkbox: it’s a fundamental value that guides our actions and initiatives.” 

OSUAA was selected for the honor because of its commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in alumni leadership, its unique alumni engagement programs, its promotion of diverse alumni achievements and its work to support underrepresented students and community members.  

“Just about five years ago, the OSU Alumni Association proactively established specific and stated objectives to enhance how OSU alumni encourage and support diversity, inclusion and a sense of belonging,” says John Valva, OSUAA Executive Director and Vice President, Alumni Engagement. “Back then, we meant it when we said our objectives and motivations were real and our work must be meaningful. This recognition from Insight Into Diversity both humbles and emboldens us. We are humbled and appreciative of this lovely acknowledgment that our efforts have had impact. This is a tribute to the hard work, commitment, and integrity of our volunteers, donors, staff and university colleagues who have teamed in the effort.  We are emboldened because the strides that have occurred are part of the ongoing effort. To all involved, we are grateful. We now look forward to leveraging this moment toward the exciting work ahead.”


Three women on stage clapping.


OSUAA has recruited and cultivated a diverse board of directors in the last five years to reflect the evolving demographics of the university’s alumni and student body. Today, the board has equal gender makeup, with 32% of members identifying as people of color.  

Another evolution in the last five years has been OSUAA’s expansion of its alumni networks to include identity-based networks, an effort that continues today. To engage alumni of diverse backgrounds more effectively, OSUAA has established the OSU Asian Pacific Islander (API) Alumni Network, OSU Black Alumni & Friends Network, łatwa ina Alumni Network (Indigenous alumni), OSU Rainbow Connect (LGBTQIA+ alumni), Vamos OSU Network (LatinX alumni), and hosted events that bring members of these groups together.  

"Suzanne Flores-Philips, with her unwavering dedication and visionary approach, has not only strengthened connections among alumni but also amplified the network's impact on our community and beyond,” says Marcia Torres, '01, member of the OSUAA Board of Directors and former Vamos OSU Alumni Network chair. “Through her steadfast commitment to fostering a culture of engagement and inclusion, Suzanne has empowered countless alumni to contribute their talents and resources toward advancing the university's mission. Her legacy of leadership serves as an inspiration to us all, reminding us of the profound difference one individual can make in building a vibrant and connected alumni community."


A smiling DJ working his dials.

A woman in an orange dress dancing in front of a smiling, clapping crowd.


OSUAA has also hosted the Annual Multicultural Alumni & Friends Tailgater during Homecoming weekend for the past seven years (excluding 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions) and showcased BIPOC and alumni-owned businesses at the event. 

In 2020, OSUAA helped establish the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Alumni Legacy Award. The award recognizes alumni who have demonstrated a commitment to social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion and incentivizes alumni to continue to promote diversity and inclusion.  

Through its online platform, social media and the Oregon Stater magazine, OSUAA also strives to highlight the voices and experiences of underrepresented alumni.  

OSUAA is a part of the OSU Foundation, which prioritizes fundraising efforts that support underserved students and create access to Oregon State degrees through scholarships.   


A speaker on stage in front of a screen presenting to a seated crowd.


The OSU Alumni Association will be featured, along with 31 other recipients, in the June 2024 Issue of Insight Into Diversity magazine.

“We know that alumni associations are not always recognized for their dedication to diversity, inclusion and belonging,” says Lenore Pearlstein, owner and publisher of Insight Into Diversity magazine. “We are proud to honor these college and university alumni associations as role models for other institutions of higher education.”