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Last modified: Monday, October 17, 2005

IU's Gros Louis presented with American Council on Education diversity leadership award

Oct. 17, 2005

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Kenneth R.R. Gros Louis, Indiana University senior vice president for academic affairs and Bloomington campus chancellor, has received one of three Reginald Wilson Diversity Leadership Awards given by the American Council on Education's Center for Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Equity. The award is given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to diversity in American higher education.

Kenneth R.R. Gros Louis

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The grandson of a Huron Indian who migrated from Canada to work in textile mills, Gros Louis grew up in New England and became the first person in his family to attend college. He also is the first and only person of verifiable American Indian ancestry to guide a major U.S. research university.

"Ken Gros Louis is a truly worthy recipient of this significant award," said IU President Adam Herbert. "He is an outspoken and staunch proponent of more accessible, high-quality higher education.

"During Ken's long tenure as vice president for academic affairs and chancellor of the Bloomington campus, IU has become recognized widely as a university that provides a very supportive and nurturing learning environment for all of its students," Herbert said. "While there is still work to be done, under his leadership Bloomington's minority enrollments have increased steadily, and its retention rate has become a model for student persistence."

Gros Louis joined the faculty at IU Bloomington as an assistant professor of English and comparative literature in 1964. He served in numerous positions at IU, including as dean of the IU College of Arts and Sciences, before becoming vice president for academic affairs and Bloomington chancellor in 1980. After retiring for a brief time in 2001, Gros Louis returned in 2004 for an 18-month term in both positions at Herbert's request.

"Ken Gros Louis' fingerprints can be found on virtually every one of IU's diversity initiatives dating back to the late 1960's, when he joined a group of Bloomington faculty on a visit to Gary, Indiana, to recruit prospective minority students," said Charlie Nelms, IU vice president for institutional development and student affairs. "Those activities led to the establishment of the Groups Program, the Minority Achievers Program and the Strategic Hiring Program, among others," continued Nelms, whose office now oversees such programs. "Ken has been equally as involved in supporting international students, women and members of the GLBT community. I was delighted to see his relentless efforts acknowledged by the American Council on Education."

The Reginald Wilson Diversity Leadership Award was established in 2001 by the Board of Directors of the American Council on Education. Other 2005 Wilson Award winners were Jacquelyn M. Belcher, former president of Georgia Perimeter College, and Tomas Arciniega, president emeritus of California State University-Bakersfield.

The award is named for Reginald Wilson, who has been senior scholar emeritus at the American Council on Education since October 1998. He originally joined ACE in October 1981 as director of the Office of Minority Concerns.