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.
Carolyn Hodges, a professor of German and director of the Africana Studies program, is a trailblazer for female minority leaders at UT. In her time as the vice provost and dean of the Graduate School, Hodges was instrumental in restructuring the school and helped make graduate education one of UT’s top priorities. Hodges also has served as associate dean for academic personnel in the College of Arts and Sciences and head of the Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures. Her research and service center on a commitment to broadening cross-cultural perspectives. She serves as the co-principal investigator on a National Institutes of Health grant designed to diversify graduate education, as chair of the internal advisory board for the Program of Excellence and Equity in Research, and as an advisory board member for the Educational Advancement Program. She has served and led diversity initiatives and programs including the Commission for Blacks, the Council on Diversity and Interculturalism, the system-wide Council on Diversity, and the Institute for Multicultural Education. Her drive, confidence, and commitment to service make her a powerful example to young minority women. In the words of her nominator, “She is truly the embodiment of the audacity of hope.”