Jim Tranquada

Occidental College is one of nine Division III schools whose Athletic Departments have been honored with the NCAA's 2008-09 Diversity in Athletics Award.

Although the annual award was established in 2005, this is the first year Division III programs have been recognized. Occidental and the other overall winners, which include Carleton, Haverford, and Wisconsin-Stout, will be honored at the NCAA's 2010 annual convention in Atlanta Jan. 16.

The Diversity in Athletics Award highlights athletic departments that excel in diversity as measured in six categories: diversity strategy, gender diversity of employees, racial diversity of employees, value and attitudinal diversity, gender equity, and overall diversity.

"These institutions have demonstrated that diversity can be achieved on a very practical and personal level, further enhancing the educational experience of our student-athletes," said Dan Dutcher, NCAA vice president for Division III. "These institutions can serve as a model and guide for the rest of our membership."

"We are proud to be one of the first Division III schools to win this kind of recognition," said Jaime Hoffman, Occidental's athletic director. "Equity and excellence are fundamental parts of Occidental's mission, and we work hard to ensure those values are realized in athletics as well as in the classroom."

The nine overall winners, as well as winners in each category, were determined by responses to a questionnaire sent to top administrators at every Division III institution as well as analysis of archival data sources. A total of 199 schools responded to the survey. Schools were ranked in each category, and points awarded based on those rankings.

Founded in 1887, Occidental is one of the founders of intercollegiate athletic competition in Southern California. Oxy has produced a long list of conference champions and All-Americans and more than two dozen Olympians, world-record holders, and national champions, including two-time Olympic diving gold medalist Sammy Lee '43, pole vault silver medalist Bob Gutowski '57, Division III 400- and 800-meter champion Jacqui Dent '92, and Division III 1- and 3-meter diving champion Jon Dohring '08.