The Cincinnatus Association honored the University of Cincinnati’s chief diversity officer, the Ohio Innocence Project and PNC for their contributions to diversity and inclusion in the community. They were presented with the Donald & Marian Spencer Spirit of America Awards during a dinner at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza.
“The Cincinnatus Association is honored to have this unique opportunity to honor the Spencers, often called the ‘first couple of civil rights’ in Cincinnati, and their legacy,” said Cincinnatus president Bob Schrage.
Keynote speaker was Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley. Emcee was WLWT anchor Courtis Fuller.
The awards were presented to:
- Individual: Dr. Bleuzette Marshall, UC’s chief diversity officer. She has been instrumental in implementing programs related to inclusiveness in the aftermath of the shooting of motorist Samuel DeBose by a UC police officer. A $40 million investment has been made in faculty development; recruiting and hiring; curriculum changes relating to diversity and inclusion; and enhancing the recruitment, retention and graduation of underrepresented minority students.
- Nonprofit: Ohio Innocence Project. Since its founding in 2003, it has freed more innocent people than any other state-based innocence organization in the country. Because of its efforts, 23 people were freed after collectively serving more than 425 years in prison for crimes they did not commit. OIP also has drafted and helped pass reforms to decrease the chance that innocent Ohioans will be wrongfully convicted. Ohio Innocence Project was represented by
- Business: PNC. Among other programs that foster diversity and inclusion, PNC has Employee Business Resource Group, which support employees with a shared heritage, gender, sexual orientation or background and provide a forum for discussion and professional development. PNC’s 10 such groups have 17,000 members across 64 chapters. PNC was represented by regional president Kay Geiger.