News Releases

UWF receives 5th national excellence in diversity award

The University of West Florida has been awarded the 2020 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity, or HEED, Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. This marks the third consecutive year and fifth time overall that UWF has earned the award.

HEED Award graphic

The HEED award recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. UWF will be featured alongside 89 other HEED Award recipients in the November 2020 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

“We pride ourselves on creating an inclusive culture every day at UWF,” said UWF President Martha D. Saunders. “The HEED Award is a great honor for our University and symbolizes our continued effort in ensuring a welcoming environment for all.”

UWF’s Office of Equity and Diversity promotes an inclusive environment by hosting a series of monthly conversations for the campus community to come together to discuss and unpack their thoughts and feelings. Topics include democracy and election issues, gender identity and healthcare. Additionally, Equity and Diversity collaborates with Housing and Residence Life to co-host a special edition for campus residents.

Throughout June, Equity and Diversity held campus conversations weekly in response to the murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis and the ensuing police brutality protests across the country. A panel of students, faculty and staff lead conversations on “Feeling Our Way Through.” Each session focused on a specific topic that addressed racism, social injustice and coping strategies.
“Diversity and inclusion work has never been more important than it is at this moment,” said Dr. Kim LeDuff, chief diversity officer and vice president for Academic Engagement and Student Affairs.

“We are thrilled to be recognized, but we still have so much work to do. It is truly a campus and community effort, and I am proud of the work that is happening even in this virtual environment. I look forward to continued improvement as we all strive for inclusive excellence.”

UWF promotes and celebrates diversity year-round by providing events, initiatives and student involvement opportunities to a variety of identity-based organizations. Other UWF events, initiatives and support opportunities recognized by HEED include:

To learn more about the HEED Award, visit For more information about diversity and efforts towards inclusive excellence at UWF, visit