CSUDH Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Dena Freeman-Patton has been named a 2022 Champion of Diversity and Inclusion by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Office of Inclusion and the Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee (MOIC). Freeman-Patton received the honor for her work in supporting ethnic minorities and other underrepresented groups and individuals.
Freeman-Patton served on the MOIC for four years, including one year as vice chair and one as chair of the committee. She was instrumental in creating legislation for the addition of an athletics diversity and inclusion designee to support the Presidential Pledge and Commitment to Promoting Diversity and Gender Equity in Intercollegiate Athletics. Freeman-Patton has also been a member of the board of directors for the Minority Opportunities Athletic Association. In her role at CSUDH, she continues to advocate for these causes behind the scenes and supports the hiring of more ethnic minority senior administrators and head coaches.
“The work of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging is at its best when there is a collective commitment and individuals who are fiercely dedicated to systemic and positive change,” said Felicia Martin, NCAA senior vice president of inclusion, education and community engagement. “The 2022 Champions of Diversity and Inclusion honorees are great examples of how committed individuals make significant differences in their communities, on their campuses and in their industries.”
Created in 2015, the honor recognizes those with a commitment to advocating for and advancing others in inclusive efforts around athletics. Individuals were nominated based on their roles as influencers in promoting diversity and inclusion, how they assist in diversifying pipeline opportunities in their senior or influential position, how they provide support to underrepresented populations, and their consistency in supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives.