Zaire Sprowal of Richmond, Virginia, has been named the 2015-2016 recipient of the University of Mary Washington’s Citizenship Award for Diversity Leadership.
The annual award is given to a rising senior enrolled as a full-time student in an undergraduate degree program at UMW. The student must maintain high academic standards, possess characteristics of leadership and make a personal commitment to advocating an appreciation for diversity and inclusion on campus.
As the award recipient, Sprowal will serve as an active spokesperson for diversity inclusion, a peer mentor to students and a voice for underrepresented populations.
“During his time at UMW, the physics major has strived to be an active participant in organizations and initiatives focusing on civic engagement, multicultural education and social justice activism,” said Marion Sanford, director of multicultural affairs.
Sprowal is vice president of the Framar International Living Community and chair of the Student Government Association’s Diversity and Unity Coordinating Committee. In the past, he served as secretary of the Student Government Association’s Executive Cabinet, held a voting position on SGA’s finance committee and was a member of the UMW varsity crew team.
“Zaire’s avid interest in the humanities led him to participate in a summer study abroad experience in an indigenous Amerindian village in Guyana,” said Sanford. “During that experience Zaire adopted a decidedly different outlook on the nature of leadership, an outlook that underscores the value of leading by example.”
He has been an active participant and panel member for diversity forums and dialogues, including the Black Lives Matter vigil, the Victims of Violence Memorial event and the People for the Rights of Individuals of Sexual Minorities’ annual Day of Silence event. In addition, he took part in a listening circle focusing on the negative impact that social media forums can have on UMW’s campus community.
“Zaire views this award as an opportunity to continue using the leadership and civic engagement skills he has developed during his tenure at UMW to precipitate positive change throughout the UMW campus community,” said Sanford.