Saint Leo University Wins 2014 HR Tampa Diversity Award

December 18, 2014

Pictured left-to-right: Ignacio "Iggy" Garcia, HR Tampa director of diversity, Theresa Kluender, director of Human Resources at Saint Leo University, and Lorrie McGovern, DBA, assistant dean, Graduate Studies in Business at Saint Leo University.

The HR Tampa Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management recently selected Saint Leo University as the recipient of its 2014 HR Tampa Diversity Award. The award was presented during the November meeting at the Centre Club in Tampa.

The eighth annual honor recognizes the HR Tampa member company that has best shown how it values diversity and inclusion in its workplace. Five Tampa Bay region businesses submitted applications for the award. Most of the applications were from larger companies.

“We were humbled to receive this award,” stated Theresa Kluender, director of Human Resources at Saint Leo University. “Our diverse workforce provides better education and global perspective for our students, as well as maintaining our culture and core values. The more diverse our workforce, the more successful our students will be in their future endeavors.”

“The competition for this year’s award was difficult,” said Ignacio “Iggy” Garcia, HR Tampa director of diversity. “We had submissions from various local companies, all who have made great efforts to promote diversity in their work place. However, Saint Leo really stood out. Their history of valuing diversity went back to early in the previous century, and their commitment continues to this day with how they promote global diversity to their students and staff. Altogether it was too much to ignore.”

Saint Leo University is a member of the Florida Diversity Council, a multicultural resource promoting excellence. Lorrie McGovern, DBA, assistant dean, Graduate Studies in Business at Saint Leo University, serves on its board of directors.

Since the beginning, Saint Leo has been an institution that welcomes and accepts people of all races, religions, and backgrounds. The university is consistently ranked among the top 100 degree-granting institutions for minority students by Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2013, the university dedicated A Spirit of Belonging at University Campus. The bronze sculpture honors Rudolph Antorcha, Saint Leo’s first black student, admitted in 1898, during a time when educational integration was illegal in Florida.

In 1973, Saint Leo again did the right thing rather than the popular thing when the institution expanded its programs to military bases to educate military servicemembers at the height of the Vietnam anti-war movement.

Saint Leo’s vast history of integrity and responsible stewardship is uniquely woven into its academic curriculum. As part of its general education core subjects, online undergraduate students take three courses in religion or philosophy, with no Christian or Catholic-specific subject requirements. There are also additional diversity course offerings in special education and social practice.

Saint Leo consistently recruits and attracts job applicants from a diverse pool. When making employment selections, the institution focuses on providing a culturally diverse environment for its students. Those efforts are even more focused in the area of diversity when recruiting faculty.

Saint Leo also has an Office of International Affairs, which coordinates the university’s international experiences, programs, and activities, seeking to create opportunities for engagement abroad for students and other members of the university community.

In addition, Saint Leo University has created two departments focused on international success for its staff, faculty, and students – Multicultural and International Student Services and International Programs. There are more than a dozen different diverse student clubs and organizations that are coordinated and administered by faculty and staff who are committed to diversity education.