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Augustana wins fourth Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award

Augustana College is one of only two private colleges in Illinois and among only nine national liberal arts colleges recognized by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine's Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award. This is the fourth time Augustana has received this distinction.

Lisa Durant-Jones, interim vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion
Dr. Lisa Durant-Jones

Augustana was one of 108 institutions to receive the national honor, which recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. Awardees will be featured in the November/December 2023 issue of INSIGHT Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

“Augustana is proud to continue to acknowledge and respect a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture  where students of all backgrounds are not only welcome but engaged,” said Dr. Lisa Durant-Jones, Augustana’s interim vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion. “This fall we welcomed our largest and most diverse class, with students traveling to Augustana from 30 states and 35 countries. It is affirming to receive this recognition from an external entity that has become the gold standard for diversity best practices in higher education.”

In part, Augustana credits the Augustana Possible grant for attracting the school’s largest applicant pool and largest first-year cohort in the school’s 163-year history. The innovative program meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for high-achieving students with financial need, based on the FAFSA or Illinois Alternative Application for Financial Aid.

The Augustana Possible grant was awarded to 183 first-year students, with 49% of eligible grant recipients identifying as students of color. Dr. Durant-Jones said this supports the college’s diversity, equity and inclusion goals and noted that the grant removed systemic barriers for students, with many grant recipients being the first in their families to attend college. 

"Augustana is proud to continue to acknowledge and respect a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture where students of all backgrounds are not only welcome but engaged."

Dr. Lisa Durant-Jones

According to Dr. Durant-Jones, Augustana was selected for the HEED award because of its unwavering commitment to the advancement of diversity, equity and inclusion. This commitment is shared throughout the campus community, and not relegated to a single office. 

“Augustana recognizes that this shared responsibility must be sustained and immersed at all levels of the institution,” she said.

In addition to being recognized with the INSIGHT award, in 2021 Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine recognized Augustana for its campus-wide diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Augustana was one of only seven schools in the country qualifying for the publication’s DOIT (Diverse Organizational Impact and Transformation) certification program in the area of institutional climate.

Augustana’s student body is comprised of 2,480 students, including 40% domestic students of color and international students. 

For more information about the 2023 HEED Award, visit


Nicole Lauer, 309-794-7645; 

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