Richard A. Flournory Engagement Award

The Richard A. Flournory Award was created in 2020 to recognize individuals who have worked to promote inclusivity at NIU over an extended time period. The annual award is sponsored by the Office of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Presidential Commission on the Status of Minorities. It is presented to recipients at the Richard A. Flournory Homecoming Inclusion Reception.

Nominations are not currently open. If you have any questions, please contact Jennifer Withers at  

Eligibility and Criteria

The one-time, nonmonetary award is presented to students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of NIU. Candidates must:

  • Demonstrate outstanding commitment to building an inclusive NIU campus.
  • Contribute to developing and sustaining a diverse and equitable NIU community.

About Richard A. Flournory

Richard "Dick" Flournory was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and earned his bachelor's degree at Tuskegee University. Flournory and his family came to NIU in the 1960s. He earned a master's degree and served as a personnel officer with responsibility for learner and trainee programs. He later became a supervisor for civil service employment and an equal opportunity/affirmative action officer for nonacademic employment.

He and his wife Icilda, an NIU alumna and associate professor, lived in the community with their children and served as missionaries to other families. They were among the first African/Caribbean Americans to live in DeKalb. Flournoy encouraged DeKalb officials to establish legislation to end discriminatory practices and provide housing assistance in the city.

Flournory retired from NIU in 1994. He was loved by many and is remembered for his infectious smile, engaging personality, and ability to cross racial lines to form strong relationships in building an inclusive campus and community.

Richard A. Flournory

Minority Faculty and Staff Reception

Flournory created the Minority Faculty and Staff Reception to introduce and celebrate underserved NIU faculty, staff and allies. The first reception was held in Chicago on March 20, 1990. It later moved to the Holmes Student Center and became aligned with Homecoming.

The first receptions were funded through the president's office, and four staff members prepared the food (Flournory, Robert Stearnes, Walter Owens and Larry Bolles). The reception was later supported by the Presidential Commission on the Status of Minorities and personal contributors.

For year, the reception was held at the home of Walt and Janice Owens in Sycamore, Illinois. In 2013, Sean Frazier, director of athletics/associate vice president, hosted it on campus. In 2015, Vernese Edghill-Walden, chief diversity officer/vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion, began hosting the event. On Oct. 25, 2019, the reception was renamed the Richard A. Flournory Homecoming Inclusion Reception.

Contact Us

Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Health Services 408
DeKalb, IL 60115


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