Lincoln, NE (April 4, 2023)  Jose Soto, vice president for Access, Equity and Diversity at Southeast Community College, is the recipient of the Diversity Leadership Alumni Award presented by the Nebraska Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Impact Awards Committee for the 2022-2023 academic year.

The award is designed for a UNL graduate who encompasses the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice through their practices and principles through profession, engagement with UNL, and or civic engagement.

“I was truly surprised when they contacted me,” Soto said. “I never expected it; didn’t see it coming.”

The awards committee wrote, “Your work as a leader and educator through the embedding of diversity and inclusiveness through your dedicated (and inclusive) service and your fostering of equality of opportunity within our community through your guidance of historically underrepresented community members, all indicate your transformative impact toward the critical work of inclusive excellence.”

Soto reflected on his years of service to SCC and to the community.

“There are many points of pride related to my work in the ‘diversity arena’,” he said. “Many of these have been at SCC, such as required diversity education involvement for all employees. And many have been in the community, such as serving on many boards, committees and commissions, and helping to organize the MLK Scholarship Breakfast event. I am especially proud of having always served SCC and the community with honesty, integrity, and zeal.”

Soto was praised by his nominators.

“Jose is a strong voice on the Commission (Nebraska Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission), encouraging us to constantly move forward with actions designed to make the courts more accessible to all Nebraskans,” it said.

Additionally, nominators noted that “. . . by lending his time and talent to efforts aimed at increasing access to justice, Jose provides thought leadership that results in Nebraskans of all backgrounds having access to our legal representation and resources.”

Soto said it’s been an honor to serve the College and community to promote an inclusive and diverse environment.

“I have appreciated serving the hundreds of employees, students and members of the public who have confided in me over the years and allowed me to help them solve problems, exact justice, and raise awareness,” Soto said. “As my tenure at SCC sunsets, I am immensely proud of 31 plus years of consistent advocacy for equity, equality, and fairness and a modest contribution to policy and systemic changes that give life to our rhetoric of valuing and embracing diversity.”

A celebration is scheduled for April 10 in the Great Plains Room of UNL’s Nebraska East Union.

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