Sheryl Lidzy, associate professor of communication and theater, has taught at Emporia State since 2006, and she’s worked with several diverse groups on campus since 2007. In recognition of these efforts and more, she was awarded the Presidential Award for Distinguished Service to Diversity during the December undergraduate commencement ceremony.
“I’m very honored to receive this award,” Lidzy said. “I find diversity to be something that’s very important to me, and I think it’s an issue that a lot of people don’t give a lot of attention to.”
Ellen Hansen, chair of the social sciences department and professor of geography, who also wrote a three-page nomination letter for Lidzy, said she nominated Lidzy because of her overriding interest in multiculturalism and diversity and her willingness to put effort into pursuing that interest.
“I am working to be a social change agent,” Lidzy said. “The only way to change society is by influencing others through interactions. Therefore, I work with students.”
Lidzy said she has been actively involved with many diverse Recognized Student Organizations, including Black Student Union, Black Women’s Network, Sigma Gamma Rho, Zeta Phi Beta and Harmonious Voices of Praise. She has also been a part of the of the Martin Luther King Day celebration planning committee since 2008, according to Hansen’s nomination letter.
“Across my life, I have encountered many different individuals and lived in many locations,” Lizy said. “Each of these experiences have influenced me to reach out to others, seeking to embrace diversity.”
Hansen said she also nominated Lidzy for her dedication, mentoring ability and incorporation of diversity into the classroom.
“I’ve seen her make a difference in students’ lives,” Hansen said. “I guess I see her as a person who is really dedicated to this (multiculturalism and diversity). She never does it as if it’s a burden. She’s always cheerful and dedicated.”
Taylor Bullock, senior sociology major, who was also nominated Lidzy for the award, said she has been an adviser, mentor and has even opened up her home, as well as being a good friend to many students. Bullock also said Lidzy is a helping hand who always delivers encouragement and support.
“She is an awesome role model,” Bullock said. “She is a woman of word, and she demonstrates it through her actions.”
Hansen said Lidzy doesn’t just talk about multiculturalism and diversity, but also works with it, and that she admires her for that.
“Sheryl’s just a really valuable colleague,” Hansen said. “She’s always just really enthusiastic and dedicated. I think very highly of her in terms of her being a leader and a mentor in diversity on this campus.”
One of the most recent projects Lidzy has been involved in is helping ESU become the next host of the Michael Tilford Diversity Conference on Diversity and Multiculturalism. The conference is Kansas’ “big diversity conference,” Hansen said, and will be held Oct. 21-22.