Committed to diversity
By Lisa DeNeal Post-Tribune correspondent March 27, 2013 2:08PM
Constantine Dillon(Left) accepts the "Moving the Needle" award on behalf of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, in which he is Superintendent, from NIPSCO C.O.O. Michael Finissi during the Urban League of NWI Diversity and Inclusion Awards Luncheon in Hobart on Thursday. | Jeff Addison ~ Sun-Times Media
At a glance
The Urban League of Northwest Indiana presented Diversity and Inclusion Awards to: Indiana University Northwest (Community Relations Award); Purdue University Calumet (Leadership Award); Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (Development Award, Moving the Needle Award); Valparaiso University (Workforce Award).
Updated: April 29, 2013 10:54AM
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore took home the NIPSCO Moving the Needle Award and the Urban League of Northwest Indiana’s Development Award March 21 at the Urban League’s Diversity and Inclusion Awards Luncheon held at the Avalon Manor in Hobart.
The awards luncheon had 550 guests representing 16 groups and organizations from throughout Northwest Indiana that promote diversity and inclusion on a daily basis.
“Our vision for this luncheon is to ensure that Northwest Indiana supports groups, organizations and individuals who enhance services and improve the social, educational and economic conditions of African-Americans and other minority and underserved citizens in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties,” Urban League of NWI president and CEO Vanessa Allen said.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore superintendent Constantine “Costa” Dillon said the 200-employee organization is a place that values diversity and inclusiveness.
“We thrive on promoting diversity in the communities and the region,” he said. “Why would we not include all people in the growth and education of our national parks?”
“Diversity is not hard,” he continued. “Diversity is paying attention to people, their surroundings, paying attention to others and valuing them.”
NIPSCO Chief Operating Officer Mike Finissi presented Dillon with the Moving the Needle Award, saying the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore represented community relations, development, leadership and a strong workforce that continues to strive in diversity and inclusiveness.
Valparaiso University’s vice president of administration and finance Charley Gillespie accepted the Workforce award with fellow administration and staff members.
He said a diverse student body and workforce is highly visible at Valparaiso University.
“Our training method takes you out of your comfort zones and we promote diversity and inclusion,” he said.
Indiana University Northwest Chancellor William Lowe accepted the Community Relations award on behalf of the university.
“This was unexpected but it is an honor,” he said. “This work of improving diversity and inclusion is never done.”
Kelechukwe Brnfre of Gary is one of the co-founders of nominee Beautiful Soul Gary, which promotes interactions and activities with poets and other artists.
“We’ve always been a diverse entity that celebrates unity and inclusiveness. It’s an honor to be recognized,” he said.