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Awards and Recognition

Neil S. Bucklew Award

2024 Nomination Process:

Nominations should include a cover sheet with the name, title, addresses of the nominee and contact information of the person nominating the individual. In addition, nominations should include a full bio of the person being nominated, and a statement of no more than 250 words summarizing why the award should be given to that person. Three one-page letters of recommendation may accompany the nomination.

Email the above attachments to by the deadline of April 1, 2024.

The prestigious Neil S. Bucklew award is named in honor of WVU's twenty-first President Neil S. Bucklew. In 1986, he initiated the Social Justice Program, a forerunner to the recently restructured Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. WVU faculty, staff and administrators who have been or are currently involved in the promotion of social justice are eligible.

This recognition is given to the recipient who has best demonstrated outstanding leadership, courage, and support on a continuous basis in the area of social justice in the West Virginia University system.

This $2,500.00 award may be used for professional development or directed to one of several worthy WVU Foundation Accounts on behalf of WVU in the recipient’s name.

Ellen Rodrigues

Rodrigues named recipient of 2023 Neil S. Bucklew Social Justice Award

Dr. Ellen Rodrigues, Director of the WVU LGBTQ+ Center and Service Assistant Professor, has been awarded West Virginia University’s 2023 Neil S. Bucklew Social Justice Award.

“Ellen is a long-time diversity champion for our university and beyond,” said Meshea L. Poore, vice president of the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “Beyond her leadership of the LGBTQ+ Center, her teaching and advocacy work make her a pillar of our community. This award is a well-earned recognition of her impact on improving the well-being of our students, faculty, staff and community.”

Through strategic partnerships, outreach initiatives, and student engagement, Rodrigues implements advocacy efforts while overseeing programs and training that address the inclusion of people of all genders and sexual orientations at WVU and beyond. Under her leadership, the impact of the LGBTQ+ Center has grown exponentially. In 2022 alone, the center delivered 28 programs independently and 20 through collaborations, in addition to 72 trainings.

In addition to her responsibilities with the center, she has taught courses focused on LGBTQ+ Perspectives at the Eberly College’s Center for Women’s and Gender Studies since 2018. She also serves as a Title IX Confidential Resource and as a faculty advisor of the LGBTQ+ Club, a student organization with 300 members. Rodrigues has represented WVU at the national Big 12 LGBTQIA+ Summit, and spends many hours advising students, faculty, and staff, as well as supporting school counselors, teachers, and parents.

Rodrigues came to WVU in 2005 as an exchange student to the College of Law after hosting a group of WVU law students in her former university in Brazil, where she completed her law degree. She earned her Ph.D. in Political Science from WVU in 2015.

Dr. Angel Smothers, Associate Dean for Community Engagement in the WVU School of Nursing nominated Rodrigues for the Bucklew Award.

“Her passion and dedication for social justice sets her apart,” Smothers said, pointing to lectures and trainings, tailored around professional development and cultural competence, Rodrigues and her team provide. “Based on our assessments and learning outcomes, these have proved to be meaningful educational ways to implement social justice not only in our classroom, but in our practice and fields of expertise.”

Dr. Kathyrn Williamson, Research Assistant Professor in the WVU Department of Physics and Astronomy also wrote in support of the nomination. Williamson expressed gratitude for the work Rodrigues does through classroom interactions as well as in less-obvious ways.

“Dr. Rodrigues often works behind the scenes, supporting her colleagues and students,” Williamson said. “Her work represents the ‘hidden labor’ that too often goes unseen.”

Michael Ryan, Coordinator of Student Supports for Monongalia County Schools also wrote to encourage Rodrigues’ selection for this year’s award. He said she has been a valuable resource to the school system as it strives to create a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion for students and employees.

“Since I have been working with her, I have been impressed with her willingness to support our school system and make sure the needs of our system are being met,” Ryan said. “She is always wanting feedback and initiates conversations to make sure she is understanding and addressing the right things in her presentations. Her work ethic and attention to detail is what impresses me the most about her.”


2022 – Cathy Jasper, WVU Office of the Provost

2019 – Dr. Melissa Latimer, WVU ADVANCE Center

2018 – Dr. Shelia S. Price, WVU School of Dentistry

2017 – Daniel W. Brewster, WVU School of Sociology

2016 – Dr. Leslie E. Tower, WVU School of Social Work

2015 – Dr. Ellesa C. High, WVU Department of English

2014 – Dr. Katy Ryan, WVU Department of English

2013 – Franklin D. Cleckley, WVU College of Law, “Lifetime Achievement”

2012 – Bonnie Mae Brown, WVU Eberly College of Arts and Sciences

2011 – Terry Nebel, WVU Office of Information Technology

2010 – Richard Fleisher, WVU Extension Service

2009 – C.B. Wilson, WVU Provost’s Office

2008 – Dinah W. Courrier, Potomac State College

2007 – Horace Belmear, WVU Office of Student Affairs

2006 – Garrett Ford, WVU Department of Athletics

2005 – John Zondlo, WVU Chemical Engineering Faculty

2004 – Carolyn Reyer, WVU Native American Studies Program (Founder)

2003 – M. Duane Nellis, WVU Eberly College of Arts and Sciences

2002 – Devika Malhotra, WVU Parkersburg

2001 – Ric MacDowell, WVU Extension Service

2000 – Madonna C. Kolbenschlag, WVU School of Medicine

1999 – T. Anne Hawkins, University Learning Center

1998 – Judith Gold Stitzel, WVU Eberly College of Arts and Sciences

1997 – Bernard Schultz, WVU College of Creative Arts

1996 – Robert D’Alessandri, WVU School of Medicine

1995 – Larry D. Robinson, WVU Parkersburg

1994 – Charles Spring, Presbyterian Campus Minister

1993 – Carolyn Bailey Lewis, WNPB

1992 – Dana Brooks, WVU College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences

1991 – Edward C. Keller, WVU Eberly College of Arts and Sciences

1990 – Franklin D. Cleckley, WVU College of Law

West Virginia University is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive culture by promoting diversity, inclusion, equality, and intercultural and intercommunity outreach. The University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, age, physical or mental disability, marital or family status, pregnancy, veteran status, service in the uniformed services (as defined by state and federal law), religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, or gender expression in the administration of any of its educational programs, activities, or with respect to admission or employment.

– Board of Governors Rule 1.6

Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

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P.O. Box 6202, Morgantown WV 26506-6202

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