Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Oakland Center, Suite 150
312 Meadow Brook Rd
Rochester, MI 48309-4454
(location map)
(248) 370-3496

Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Wednesdays with extended hours 8 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Monica E. Emerson Diversity Award

Monica Emerson

Oakland University is proud to offer the Monica E. Emerson Diversity Award in recognition of her many contributions to Oakland University and the surrounding community.

Oakland University Board of Trustee Emerita Monica E. Emerson is currently Principal of Inclusive Performance Solutions, a diversity and inclusion consultancy company. Formerly appointed by the Secretary of the Navy as the first Navy diversity officer for the U.S. Department of Navy, she advised top military officers and the senior executive service on all aspects of its diversity strategies and initiatives. She retired from DaimlerChrysler Corporation where she served as a member of its senior management team and as executive director of the corporate diversity office. A nationally-recognized corporate strategist on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, Ms. Emerson has received numerous awards including the Excellence in Leadership Award from the Women in Defense Michigan Chapter, Presidential Diversity Award from the National Association of Women Business Owners Greater Detroit Chapter and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women of Color in Technology and Business.

Trustee Emerita Emerson is a proud alumna of Oakland University where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in French and secondary education. She earned a Master of Arts degree in guidance and counseling from Wayne State University and a professional development in management degree from the University of Michigan.

The Monica E. Emerson Diversity Award annually recognizes significant achievements, creative programming efforts or innovative diversity and inclusion concepts of faculty, staff, students, alumni and academic units in developing a culturally diverse, compassionate university community reflective of inclusive excellence.

Nominations are welcome from any member of the university including self-nominations and university community partners. Candidates for the award should be engaged in meaningful diversity activities beyond one’s primary responsibilities at the university. Nominations are sought from the following categories: faculty, staff, students, administrative and academic units, student organizations, alumni and community members or organizations directly associated with Oakland University.

The nominees should:
  • Promote awareness and understanding for diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Build sensitivities to people of different cultures and backgrounds.
  • Partner with colleagues and or the community to create and implement initiatives and policies that build an inclusive environment.
  • Prepare others to thrive in a globally diverse workforce.
  • Create a sustainable “new idea or initiative that will enhance an inclusive environment.”

Awards for specific projects, programs and or practices that best reflect the implementation of Oakland University’s diversity and inclusion goals will be $1,000. Award selection will be based upon three criteria:
  1. Significance - How has the nominee(s) demonstrated leadership and commitment to the enhancement, development and sustainability of diversity and inclusive excellence?
  2. Innovation – How is/was this activity unique or different from existing activities and projects that address diversity and inclusiveness?
  3. Impact – What are/will have been the measurable outcomes that demonstrate how this project/program/activity “move the needle” in addressing issues of diversity and inclusiveness throughout Oakland University and the community?
Public recognition for exemplary contributions will be acknowledged and presented annually to the recipient.

Nomination Process
Nominations should include:
  1. The candidate’s name, email and nomination category.
  2. A letter of nomination that specifically addresses the listed criteria.
  3. Other supporting materials, if necessary.  

Nominations are due by January 6, 2020. Apply using this Google form.

Direct questions to Lori Marsh at 248-370-4200 or

Past Award Winners
2016 - Nicole Wells Stallworth
2017 - Anne Switzer Zacharias
2018 - Karen Sheridan