National honor


Dean of students wins national diversity award

BLUFFTON, Ohio—Dr. Julie DeGraw, vice president for student life and dean of students at Bluffton University, has been honored by the Association for Christians in Student Development (ACSD) for her promotion of diversity.

DeGraw, who has been at Bluffton since 2012, received the Jane Hideko Higa Multicultural Competency and Advancement Award from ACSD at its recent conference at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minn.

The award was established in 2011 to recognize “significant contributions toward increased understanding and promotion of multiculturalism” in the association and recipients’ home institutions, according to the ACSD website.

DeGraw was cited by the association as a “key member” of its diversity task force; for presenting numerous workshops on diversity at ACSD annual conferences and other professional gatherings; and for creating many mentoring opportunities for professionals in the association.

She has also taught on the topic, as a visiting lecturer in graduate programs in higher education at Geneva College and Bowling Green State University.

“Julie is a student development professional who cares deeply about students in the margin,” her award citation adds, noting that “she consistently makes this a priority” in her work.   

DeGraw, whose responsibilities at Bluffton include oversight of multicultural affairs, came to the university from the College of Lake County (Ill.), a community college north of Chicago where she was dean of counseling, advising and transfer.

She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in higher education, both from the University of Michigan. Her doctoral program included a concentration in academic affairs and student development. She also earned a master’s degree in counseling from Michigan State University. Her bachelor’s degree is in English and secondary education from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich.

DeGraw also worked at Calvin—as a resident director, counselor and coordinator for student leadership development—and at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., where she was director of first-year programs and disability services.