“Intelligence plus character–that is the goal of true education.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote this as part of his “Purpose of Education” paper while still a student at Morehouse College in 1947.
6 years earlier, Harold Buckingham had founded National American University (NAU). Mr. Buckingham strongly believed that quality educational opportunities should exist for every individual willing to pursue higher education, a philosophy that NAU still subscribes to 75 years later. Since the very beginning, NAU has offered open enrollment with a mission to serve a diverse student population.
Today, more than 74% of NAU’s undergraduates are between the ages of 25-49; our minority population reflects a greater diversity than the overall U.S. minority population; and the university’s increased undergraduate and graduate female student enrollment reflects a higher enrollment than national higher education trends, according to a 2014 university self-study.
But why does diversity matter?
NAU’s diverse student body allows for greater diversity of thoughts, issues and innovation in the classroom and online; and, as important, diversity prepares our students for the real world.
Workplace diversity and inclusion are gaining greater importance in many companies. “A record number of corporate clients are either reviving and rebuilding their diversity programs—or launching them from scratch,” even creating senior positions around ensuring diversity, noted Selena Rezvani, a diversity consultant and Forbes contributor (“Five Trends Driving Workplace Diversity In 2015,” Forbes, February 3, 2015).
“Diversity is essential to growth and prosperity of any company: diversity of perspectives, experiences, cultures, genders, and age,” wrote Ekaterina Walter, a Forbes contributor, in her article “Reaping the Benefits of Diversity for Modern Business Innovation” (January 14, 2014). Diversity and inclusion, wrote Walter, has been shown to be key drivers of higher productivity, creativity, innovation and business growth.
Affording equal opportunity to access higher education and employment is not just the right thing to do, it also makes great business sense. “Strength lies in differences, not in similarities,” Steven Covey once said. A diverse student body offers diversity of thought and experiences, which is a benefit to each student and the university as a whole.
Walter, Ekaterina, “Reaping the Benefits of Diversity for Modern Business Innovation,” Forbes (January 14, 2014) http://www.forbes.com/sites/ekaterinawalter/2014/01/14/reaping-the-benefits-of-diversity-for-modern-business-innovation/
Rezvani, Selena, “Five Trends Driving Workplace Diversity In 2015,” Forbes (February 3, 2015) http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2015/02/03/20768/