The Hardy Liston Jr. Symbol of Hope Award goes to a faculty member, staff member, or friend of the university who demonstrates a commitment to diversity, multiculturalism, and appreciation of the differences in people and cultures on our campus.
Ernest Brothers, associate dean of the Graduate School, is a tireless advocate for graduate students. He is passionate about recruiting, retaining, and graduating underrepresented students with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
Brothers, who also serves as associate director of diversity enhancement for the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis, established GeoMap, a tool that shares venue information and opportunities with departments seeking to recruit underrepresented students to UT.
He helped launch the Multicultural Graduate Student Organization, a group focused on building a community for students from diverse backgrounds.
As director of the Office of Graduate Training and Mentorship, Brothers has helped shape the mentoring culture at UT.
One nominator lauded his “distinctive mentoring style informed by his deep caring for graduate student success,” adding, “As I struggled to complete my dissertation … I regularly called on Dr. Brothers for his words of encouragement. I later found that many of my colleagues and friends did the same.”