WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — WSU’s president and director of diversity and inclusiveness have received awards from the Wichita chapter of the NAACP.

President Rick Muma was named Wichita NAACP’s Person of the Year. The award was received for what the Wichita NAACP says is his work “on the WSU campus and the surrounding neighborhood develop a more diverse, equitable and inclusive environment.”

Dr. Kevin Sylvester Harrison, director of diversity, equity, and inclusion, was named the H.N. Sims Excellence in Education Award winner. The award is given to educators in the community who are committed to telling the complete story of America and the black experience.

Harrison is visiting professor at WSU’s Dorothy & Bill Cohen Honors College. His award is named in honor of Dr. H.N. Sims, a dentist who was the first black person elected president of the Wichita School Board in 1959.

In a news release president of the Wichita NAACP and manager of WSU’s Military and Veterans Services, Larry Burks, says that they always take special care in selecting award recipients. Burks says Muma and Harrison both align with the organization’s mission.

“Dr. Rick Muma, as president of Wichita State University, has proven to be a trailblazer and motivational leader for the initiatives undertaken by the university and for Kansas Higher Education,” says Burks “Just seeing the growth of the Innovation Campus, increased student enrollment and heightened community involvement are indicators that he leads from the front and has a vision that is worthy of following.”

“The cornerstone of Wichita State’s excellence as a university is its commitment to the communities we serve,” says WSU President Rick Muma. “I am humbled and honored to receive this award on behalf of Wichita State University.”

“The great educator Dr. Carter G. Woodson believed that Black people should be proud of their heritage and that all Americans should understand the largely overlooked achievements of Black Americans and other marginalized populations. With this in mind, my goal as an educator is to use the power of stories to tear down all the imaginary walls that separate us and to strengthen the reality that we have far more in common than our imagined and perceived differences,” Say Dr. Harrison. “Thus, in the spirit of all the tremendous works of innovators and educators of color, it gives me great pleasure to serve in the Cohen Honors College at Wichita State and to accept the H.N. Sims Award for Academic Excellence.”

Of Harrison, Burks says that he is an innovator and a dominant force for educational excellence.

“He is an example for emulation given his support of community youth, using a unique teaching and management style and maintaining focus on academic achievement in his role in the Honors College,” says Burks “His talent is multi-faceted, and he is a gifted musical, cinematic and story-telling genius for our times.”