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Two from CHS to receive university-level inclusive excellence awards

VCU will host this year’s PACME celebration virtually on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. The celebration is open to the public.
Seth Leibowitz and Amanda Parks

The Presidential Awards for Community Multicultural Enrichment recognizes those VCU and VCU Health individuals and groups who have made exemplary contributions with regard to promoting civility, building community, establishing cross-cultural initiatives, advocating equity, and nurturing a welcoming and inclusively excellent environment throughout the university and area communities.

PACME recipients are honored for their efforts and contributions that move beyond the routine expectations of the individual or group’s position and enhance the goals of inclusive excellence and VCU’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Each award winner receives $500. In addition, one of the four recipients will be selected to receive the capstone award – The Riese-Melton. This special award is given for contributions made in advancing cross-cultural relations. The awardee will receive an additional $250.

The Riese-Melton award is a long tradition at VCU and is named for two pathfinders in our institution’s history who dared to reach across the racial divide during less enlightened times. Dr. Walter J. Riese served as professor of neurology and psychiatry at our medical center. During his tenure, he championed the rights of African American employees during a time when it was unpopular to take a stand. One of these employees was Mr. Herman Melton, who worked at the medical center for more than 50 years. We continue the award because it reminds us of these individuals in our own past who created a culture of diversity that endures to this day.

Award Categories

  • Academic and Administrative Leadership Award (includes administrators, directors, and university organizations)
  • Faculty Award (includes teaching, research, and adjunct faculty)
  • Staff Award (includes classified, hourly, and part-time staff, and university and academic professionals)
  • Student Award (includes graduate and undergraduate students, post-docs, and student organizations)

This year, Amanda M. Parks, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Psychology, is being honored as the student recipient. 

Parks' work is rooted in promoting diversity, inclusion and equity from her class contributions, research questions, clinical work and service. Her research focuses on underserved African American children and families. She has a passion for children's rights and protection. Through advocacy, mentorship and research, Parks is devoted to creating evidence-based treatment and positive support services to improve the mental health of children and their families.

This year, a special presentation of the President's Inclusive Excellence Lifetime Achievement Award will be given to Seth Leibowitz, Ed.D., executive director of the Health Sciences Program and Advising, Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences.

To view a full list of recipients and to view a live stream of the awards ceremony on April 27, visit the Office of the President's PACME page.