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.
Steven Waller, associate head of the Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies, is a dedicated advocate for diversity and inclusion on campus. Waller led the university’s strategic planning process for diversity; served as president of the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences Senate; served on the Faculty Senate; and is a member of the college’s Diversity Champions Committee. In 2017, Waller led the formation of the Center for the Study of Religion and Sport, which seeks to examine the nexus between sport and religion. He has served on three RecSports Committees, taken part in a faculty–student athlete dialogue hosted by the Thornton Center, served as a mentor in the McNair Scholars program, and been a member of the Programs for Minors Committee. As a teacher, he is widely known as one who goes out of his way to prepare for classes. Waller is also a respected scholar who publishes on a wide array of topics including parks and recreation management, therapeutic recreation, diversity in athletics, and sport and religion.