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February 17, 2015

Award recipients lauded for commitment to diversity

group of people under chandelier
Top, from left: Vivian Lewis, vice provost for faculty development and diversity; Howard Potter, director of the Eastman Community Music School; President Joel Seligman. Middle, from left: Ruth Cahn, senior instructor of percussion; Diversity Award winner Jan Angus of Eastman Pathways; Anna Maimine of the Eastman School; Diversity Award winner Kristin Hocker. Front: Carrol Frangipane, Eastman Pathways mentor and instructor of voice and flutist Jahshanti Henry.

The Eastman Pathways Program and Kristin Hocker, an organizational development specialist with human resources, were honored as the University’s 2015 Presidential Diversity Award recipients.

The awardees were chosen for their commitment to promoting values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“Diversity is a core principle of the University,” says President Joel Seligman. “In recognizing the Eastman Pathways Program’s work with young musicians in the city school district and Kristin Hocker’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion on campus, we celebrate all members of the University community who support these fundamental values.”

Eastman Pathways Program

The Eastman Pathways program, a partnership between the Eastman Community Music School (ECMS) and the Rochester City School District, provides music instruction to talented students. Launched in 1997, the program provides scholarship aid to between 60 and 70 outstanding 5th through 12th grade students for private lessons, classes in music theory and history, and participation in ensembles. Underrepresented minority students account for more than half of the graduating classes in the past 15 years.

About 35 ECMS teachers are involved in the program. In addition, Eastman School students serve as “practice buddies,” mentoring and coaching Pathways students on their practice techniques. Other activities include career workshops, holiday socials, and attendance at Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra performances and preconcert talks. The various opportunities allow Pathways students to form a community with their musical peers and develop personal connections that cross socioeconomic and geographic boundaries.

“Eastman Pathways has changed many lives over the years,” says Donna Brink Fox, senior associate dean of academic and student affairs at Eastman. “The program has helped pave the way to college for many participants. At the same time, Pathways students have created a more diverse and inclusive community at Eastman while making others aware about the road blocks to learning opportunities that many urban students face.”

“There’s no doubt that lessons learned at an early age stay with you throughout your life,” said Jan Angus, a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and coordinator for Eastman Pathways. “These students are at a vital crossroad in their musical life, whether this is a future profession or hobby. We hope to guide them both in life and in their musical education.”

Eastman Pathways is supported through the Talented Students in the Arts Initiative, a collaboration of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Surdna Foundation, and by the Eastman School, with assistance from local and national foundations, corporations, and individuals.

Kristin Hocker

A valued member of the organizational development and staff diversity team in the Office of Human Resources since 2005, Hocker has consistently advocated for inclusiveness on all campuses at the University. Through her research on diversity in higher education staff leadership, involvement in the Latino Professional Alliance, and passion for LGBTQ equality, her dedication to diversity extends far beyond any one program or cause.

Over the years, Hocker’s efforts have resulted in the promotion and creation of activities to recruit and train individuals to help increase diversity of faculty and staff; leadership teams and organizations that promote a diverse and inclusive culture; and programs, initiatives, and projects focused on diversity and inclusion.

“Kristin has a strong belief in what needs to happen to make the world a better place for all and will work tirelessly to ensure it is achieved,” wrote Stanley Byrd, human resources director for organization development and staff diversity, in a letter supporting Hocker’s nomination for the award.

Many of Hocker’s efforts have focused on supporting the LGBTQ community. In 2012, she was instrumental in coordinating and further developing the University’s Safe Space program, a training program that creates a safer and freer environment for all members of the University community, regardless of sexual orientation of gender identity or expression.

Hocker is a doctoral candidate in the higher education program at the Warner School, where she focuses her dissertation research on exploring professional staff’s conceptions of leadership in higher education. She expects to graduate in May 2015.

“These award winners have inspired us all to persist in working to achieve the vision of a University and Rochester community that celebrates and reflects the richness of diversity and the opportunities it affords,” says Vivian Lewis, deputy to the president and vice provost for faculty development and diversity, and chair of the award’s selection committee. “We salute their achievements and those of the all the nominees and look forward to their continued commitment.”

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