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Utah State University Presents Diversity Awards

Thursday, Mar. 13, 2014

USU Diversity Award winners Garth Wilson and Robert McPherson

Honorees for the 2013-14 USU Diversity Awards are Garth Wilson (left) the "Administrator" selection and Robert McPherson (right) in the “Faculty” category.

USU Diversity Award winners Juan Carlos Vazquez and Indhira Hasbún

Juan Carlos Vazquez (left) was honored with the "Staff" award and Indhira Hasbún (right) represents the “Student” category.

staff members from USU's Museum of Anthropology

Staff members from the USU Museum of Anthropology. The museum was honored in the "Organization" category.

Utah State University will honor five individuals and organizations as part of its 20th Annual USU Diversity Awards.

The recipients for the 2013-14 school year are Garth Wilson, Robert McPherson, Juan Carlos Vazquez, Indhira Hasbún and the USU Museum of Anthropology. The awards recognize individuals and organizations on campus and in communities served by USU who have made significant contributions to affirmative action, equal opportunity and diversity.


Garth Wilson, associate vice chancellor for student affairs at USU Eastern, was selected in the Administrator category for his efforts to enhance and support diversity in the college. Wilson has significantly increased the representation and opportunities for Native American students. He has been a key leader in maximizing possibilities by creating a supportive environment with dedicated faculty and staff who value diversity.

Wilson has written and directed 14 major federal grants that provided services to 200 low-income and first-generation college students and students with disabilities. He has supported weekly forums to increase student engagement with faculty and staff.  He is a leader in preserving and increasing the use of the Navajo language and teaches courses on reversing language loss among indigenous people.


Robert McPherson, a professor at USU Eastern in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, was honored in the Faculty category for his many contributions to promote diversity, whether through his multiple oral history interviews, his storytelling, his teaching or his publications. His nomination letter showed that he has a real energy and enthusiasm for the importance of celebrating Utah’s diverse heritage.

His career has been among the Native American population through teaching and robust research. He has managed adult education centers on the Navajo and Ute reservations and established curriculum aimed at Navajo students. He has built a reputation as an advocate for the preservation and dissemination of Native American history, artifacts and culture.


Juan Carlos Vazquez, program coordinator in the Center for Persons with Disabilities, was recognized in the Staff category for his development of programs to encourage high school students of ethnic minority backgrounds to come to USU and for providing effective support to them while they are at USU. He has also developed a program called Diversity and Cultural Awareness, which is a training program for various educational organizations.

He has developed and facilitated programs to support multicultural students through the application, admission and transition process at USU. He also oversees scholarships, housing waivers and helped to create work-study opportunities for multicultural students. He served as the advisor of the Utah State University Hispanic Student Union promoting Latino culture with events on and off campus. He promoted higher education through Cache Valley’s K-12 parent associations, multicultural clubs and organizations.


Indhira Hasbún, a graduate student working toward her master’s degree in the College of Engineering, was honored in the Student category.  She has worked with enthusiasm in several areas, including mentoring young Hispanic women, many of whom have been inspired by her influence to consider engineering as an attainable career and has introduced students to her passion for engineering by inviting them to events such as NASA's Day Day on Campus.

Hasbún has served as president of USU’s Society for Professional Hispanic Engineers, which was ranked 11th out of 240 chapters for membership increase during the 2011-12 school year.


The USU Museum of Anthropology is being recognized in the Organization category for fostering an appreciation of culture and diversity among the community, students, faculty and staff. Through exhibits, programming and partnerships, the Museum of Anthropology is educating the Cache Valley community about cultural differences, with the idea that these differences enrich both the community and people’s lives.

The museum is a teaching museum that trains the next generation of museum professionals. There are more than 25 undergraduate and graduate students who serve part-time to develop, implement and evaluate the museum’s programming exhibits and curatorial activities. The museum partners with USU student groups and clubs to share and enhance the diversity on USU’s campus by highlighting culture, history, music, dance and ceremonies from around the world. 

Contact: Stacy Louck Sturgeon, director, USU Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity, 435-797-1266,

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