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Bentley staff Dominique Wilburn, alumnus Paul Grover '81, staff Nana Adu and faculty Dr. Yaro Fong-Olivares with the Insight Into Diversity award plaque
Posing at a Rainbow Week event with the Insight Into Diversity award plaque are (left to right): Dominique Wilburn, Director of Programs and Communication, Center for Women and Business; Paul Grover ’81, Rainbow Scholars conference supporter; Nana Adu, Assistant Director, Gender and Sexuality Student Programs Office; Dr. Yaro Fong-Olivares, Executive Director, Center for Women and Business. Photo by Caleb Gowett.

Bentley University’s Rainbow Scholars Program has been named a recipient of the 2024 Insight Into Diversity Inspiring Programs in Business Award, which recognizes programs and initiatives that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in business schools and beyond. The national honor, presented by the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education, was awarded to a higher education business school, company, business organization, or nonprofit that demonstrates high-level commitment to recruit and retain underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students for business-related majors and providing generous support along their pathways to success.  

According to Insight Into Diversity, candidates for the award were measured on criteria that included well-designed, evidence-based programs with longevity and the potential to scale up as well as to serve as models for others. Programs must also demonstrate superior support systems for students, a long-term commitment to building diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and tangible measures of success.   

“This program, conceived and executed by Dominique Wilburn, Director of Programs and Communications for the Center for Women and Business, and Nana Adu, Assistant Director for the Gender and Student Sexuality Programs Office, exemplifies our innovative and cross-divisional approach and our commitment to ensuring every student feels they belong on Bentley's campus,” said Paul Tesluk, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “The Rainbow Scholars Program aligns seamlessly with Bentley’s core values of collaboration, diversity, learning and caring. Beyond my current role as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, as an organizational psychologist studying leadership development, I have been impressed by the leadership development approach embedded in the Rainbow Scholars Program.”  This is the latest recognition that Bentley has received for its innovative student programming; other recent awards include the NASPA Program of the Year award and bronze-level recognition for NASPA’s national excellence award, both also received for the Rainbow Scholars Program, and the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award for Bentley’s outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion and top marks from the Campus Pride Index to recognize the university as an LGBTQ+ inclusive community.  

“We are honored that the Rainbow Scholars program has received this prestigious recognition,” said Director of Diversity and Inclusion Patrick Couillard Hale. “This accolade marks a significant milestone in our commitment to fostering a campus environment that celebrates diversity and inclusion and prepares our students to lead—professionally and personally—in advancing DEI initiatives. It reflects the collective dedication of our community to creating a space where everyone feels valued, supported and empowered.”  

Here’s a look at this year’s second annual Rainbow Week at Bentley University — a weeklong series of events highlighting the LGBTQ+ community including the Rainbow Scholars Conference, Trans Ally 101 Training, Rainbow Graduation, Rainbow Block Party and Transcending Identities: Trans Student Experience Panel. Activities during the week including knitting, thrift shopping and others were designed to encourage learning, raise awareness and reaffirm our commitment to a culture of inclusion and equity. The week was hosted by the university’s Office of Gender and Sexuality Student Programs and Center for Women and Business.

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