Cynthia Turner and her two sons

Cynthia Turner, assistant dean and chief diversity officer at Fisher College of Business, was recently among a handful of celebrities, leaders and elected officials honored at the 2023 Diamond Awards for her leadership and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion at Fisher.

Turner, the first African-American woman to earn a PhD in accounting at Ohio State and Fisher’s first chief diversity officer, received the Diamond Awards’ inaugural 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award in Institutional Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

She also was honored with the creation of The Churchwell | Turner Global Diamond Awards in Higher Education by the Not Alone Foundation — recognition Turner shared with Dr. André L. Churchwell, vice chancellor of outreach, inclusion and belonging at Vanderbilt University, who also received a Lifetime Achievement Award. The Churchwell | Turner Global Diamond Awards in Higher Education will continue as a permanent category of the Diamond Awards in perpetuity.

“It was truly an honor to be recognized alongside so many leaders who have dedicated their life’s work to advancing DEI for all,” said Turner (MAcc '95, PhD '96). “Needless to say, recognition like this is a direct reflection of the hard work of so many people at Fisher who share our belief that programs and experiences that cultivate better understanding of DEI can ultimately help individuals, companies and industries become better.”

Called the “Oscars” of community service, the Diamond Awards, recognize outstanding work that advances social justice and human rights issues nationwide and promotes cultural understanding, diversity, equity, and inclusion through the arts, philanthropy, educational initiatives and corporate culture.

Among the approximately 20 icons in the entertainment industry, government, business and public service who received Diamond Awards were actors Corbin Blue (The Mahalia Jackson Story) and Jimmy Odukoya (The Woman King) and sports commentator Ahmad Rashad. Turner was among 50 education administrators also honored for their dedication to making gains in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

“While we often speak of trailblazers, we seldom have opportunities to work alongside these pioneers as they generate positive change,” said Anil K. Makhija, dean and John W. Berry, Sr. Chair in Business. “Here at Fisher, however, I have had the incredible privilege of seeing Cynthia’s passion for business education intersect with a dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion in all that we do as a college.”

“Her vision, hard work and advocacy for what is possible sparked the creation of programs and a culture that continue to serve as a foundation for our DEI efforts.”

The Diamond Awards are hosted by the Not Alone Foundation, a nonprofit that works to educate the public about chronic kidney disease and improve the quality of life for patients by providing educational and medical resources and financial assistance.

Photo courtesy of ESKP Photography