Apply for Perkins Prize, new diversity awards by March 13

Applications are being accepted through March 13 for the annual James A. Perkins Prize for Interracial and Intercultural Peace and Harmony, established and endowed by trustee Thomas W. Jones ’69.

The prize is given annually to the Cornell student, faculty or staff member, or program making the most significant contribution to furthering the ideal of university community while respecting the values of diversity. The $5,000 prize is awarded with the understanding that the money will be used to further projects that promote intercultural understanding and harmony at Cornell.

Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to apply for the award, and members of the Cornell community are invited to submit nominations as well as encourage potential applicants to apply directly.

New this year are the Student & Campus Life (SCL) Diversity and Inclusion Awards. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Willard Straight Hall occupation, SCL is seeking nominations for four special Diversity and Inclusion awards:

  • the Quiet Influence award, presented to an undergraduate student whose significant effort in the area of diversity and inclusion is evident by building up or influencing others;
  • two Student Organization of the Year awards, to recognize an undergraduate and a graduate or professional organization that have successfully demonstrated a commitment to diversity and inclusion, exemplifying their overall mission and purpose through campus engagement that made a lasting impact on the campus community; and
  • the Transformational Leadership award, given to an undergraduate student who has contributed to an inclusive environment and has made a valuable contribution to student communities and the broader Cornell community.

All awards will honor students and/or student organizations playing a significant role in exemplifying SCL’s diversity and inclusion values, and will extend the legacy of those who occupied Willard Straight Hall in 1969. Perkins was Cornell president during the Straight occupation, in which Jones participated.

Criteria for each award, as well as the prize and award application form and more information, can be found on the Perkins Prize website. Questions can be sent to

The 2019 Perkins Prize and the SCL Diversity and Inclusion Awards will be presented April 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the Willard Straight Hall Memorial Room.

Media Contact

Gillian Smith