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K-State Today

December 11, 2017

Two K-Staters named recipients of Commerce Bank/W.T. Kemper Foundation presidential awards for diversity excellence

Submitted by Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President

Two K-Staters have been named recipients of Commerce Bank and W.T. Kemper Foundation presidential awards for promoting diversity at Kansas State University. 

Larry Moeder, associate vice president for student life and executive director of admissions and student financial assistance, is the recipient of the Commerce Bank and W.T. Kemper Foundation Presidential Faculty/Staff Award for Distinguished Services to Historically Under-Represented Minority Students. The award was established in 1978 to recognize outstanding individual contributions to the development of quality education for students of color at Kansas State University.

During his 40-year career at the university, Moeder has had a significant influence on the retention of underrepresented students at K-State. He has gone above and beyond to assist income-limited students — often quickly intervening on their behalf — and has worked tirelessly to increase the number of need-based scholarships. He has helped the TRIO Programs, Educational Support Services and the McNair Scholars Program retain numerous students each year.

In the 2016-2017 academic year, Moeder extended the admission and scholarship priority deadline to assure the process accommodates families' needs; increased total scholarships for out-of-state freshman; and met with countless students and student life staff members to assist students in resolving unpaid bills. 

According to the nomination letter, Moeder brings "humanity to what otherwise seems like an inflexible system" by meeting one on one with students and learning their stories. 

Chelsea Turner, junior in American ethnic studies, is the recipient of the Commerce Bank and W.T. Kemper Foundation Presidential Student Award for Distinguished Services in Enhancing Multiculturalism at Kansas State University. The award was established in the spring of 1997 to recognize outstanding individual contributions to diversity enhancement within the student sector.

Turner also is working on minors in theater and leadership studies. Her involvement promoting diversity at the university spans many areas. She was the first woman of color to perform the role of Eisenring in the K-State Theatre production of "The Arsonists," and led and organized Feminists Igniting Resistance and Empowerment, or FIRE's, Take Back Our Lives anti-violence movement in spring 2017. Turner also has worked with disabled adults in Camp Moja and with underprivileged youth in rural Kenya as part of the International Service Teams through the Staley School of Leadership Studies.

She currently serves as the student community liaison for the American ethnic studies and theatre departments, and co-president of FIRE. Turner is a member of the Developing Scholars Program and is conducting research to make the world better for those who are historically disadvantaged.

According to her nomination letter, she has reached out to several classmates to make them feel valued on campus and beyond the classroom. 

"Her passion for enhancing diversity justice and to heed the concerns of her community captures Chelsea Turner's authentic spirit to empower herself and others to make society a better place for all peoples," said Turner's nominator. 

For her efforts to create and maintain an inclusive campus environment, Turner was awarded the Joey Lee Garmon Scholarship in spring 2016 and the Undergraduate Student Social Justice Award in fall 2017.

Please join us in recognizing Moeder and Turner at a public reception from 3:30-5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23, at the K-State Alumni Center. This year's program will mark the 39th year of the awards.