Campus Life

UWF receives 4th national excellence in diversity award

The University of West Florida has been awarded the 2019 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity, or HEED, Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. The award recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. UWF also received this national honor in 2015, 2016 and 2018. The University will be featured alongside 92 other HEED Award recipients in the November 2019 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

UWF students socializing on their way to class

“Every day at UWF, we focus on creating an inclusive culture,” said UWF President Martha D. Saunders. “We pride ourselves on how our students, faculty and staff feel they belong on our campus. The HEED Award is a great honor for our University and symbolizes that we are making significant progress.”

The University leads a number of diversity efforts on campus and in the community, including an early arrival program for incoming UWF students identified as having Autism Spectrum Disorder and enrolled in classes for the fall semester. ASD Early Arrival focuses on topics such as academic strategies, independent living skills, social skills and career readiness. Topics are presented during a two-day series of workshops, panel discussions and guest speaker lectures. Additionally, students have the option of moving into their residence halls prior to the start of the program.

“Being named a HEED 2019 recipient is an honor for UWF, but the true reward is in our ability to design unique programs and launch tailored initiatives to serve many segments of our campus community,” said Dr. Kim LeDuff, chief diversity officer and vice president for academic engagement and student affairs. “The ASD early arrival program prepares new Argos for success during a major transitional period in their lives.”

Additionally, UWF promotes and celebrates diversity year-round, closely following a four-year diversity plan that began in 2018. UWF was recognized for events, initiatives and involvement opportunities including:

  • Campus Conversations
  • Global Block Party
  • Kaleidoscope Diversity Conference
  • Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Awards Ceremony
  • Trailblazer Awards
  • Cross-Cultural Competency Online Course
  • Identity-Based Organizations
  • LGBTQIA+ Resources and Counseling
  • Inclusion and Diversity Week co-hosted by Student Government Association
  • Disability Awareness Month co-hosted by Student Accessibility Resources & Human Resources
  • MLK Day of Service co-hosted by Student Involvement
  • Women of the Rec co-hosted by Office of Recreation and Wellness
  • Tunnel of Oppression co-hosted by Housing and Residence Life
  • Events throughout Black History Month
  • Events throughout Women’s History Month

To learn more about the award, visit For more information about diversity and efforts towards inclusive excellence at UWF, visit To learn more about the Argos for Autism Program, offered by Student Accessibility Resources, visit