Professional News

HDI DEI director earns prestigious award from American College Personnel Association

Nicholas Wright, Ph.D., speaks with parents and students in the College and Career Studies Program during their semester recap meeting. Arden Barnes | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 28, 2023) — The University of Kentucky Human Development Institute’s director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is a recipient of a prestigious award from one of the country’s leading organizations for student affairs professionals.

Nicholas Wright, Ph.D., has earned the Annuit Coeptis Award for Emerging Professional from the American College Personnel Association - College Student Educators International (ACPA).

“I am honored to have been named a 2023 ACPA-College Student Educators International Emerging Professional. ACPA is my professional home and has been throughout my time as a scholar-practitioner in Student Affairs. I enjoy the leadership opportunities, the guidance and the support,” said Wright. “I look forward to receiving this award in front of my mentors, mentees and colleagues. I do this work to improve inclusivity and accessibility throughout higher education, but it is always great to receive recognition and it reaffirms the importance of the work that I am doing.”

Starting in 1979, the ACPA recognizes up to three senior professionals and five emerging professionals internationally each year for significant contributions to the field of student affairs through administrative service, teaching, scholarship, and/or professional association service or leadership.

The Latin phrase "annuit coeptis" translates to “He (God) has approved our undertakings.” The motto is found on the reverse side of the Great Seal of the U.S. It reflects the optimism for the future of the profession held by one of the professors who inspired the award’s creation.

Wright began his role as Diversity, Equity and Inclusion director at the Human Development Institute (HDI) in June 2022. He serves on HDI’s leadership team working on the institute’s strategic plan, conducting research, hosting diversity discussions for staff, teaching academic courses and serving as a direct resource for HDI researchers.

Wright has an extensive background in student affairs, including his role as director of a student accessibility office. He also teaches a universal design course for undergraduate students as well as a graduate course and practicum connected with HDI’s Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program.

Wright will be honored and recognized at the annual conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, in March.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.