Dr. Cornelius Hopper Diversity Excellence Award

photo of Dr. Cornelius Hopper

The Dr. Cornelius Hopper Diversity Excellence Award is designed to inspire faculty, staff, and students to engage in activities that will advance health equity and make a lasting impact on individual health and community well-being. The award is named for and honors Dr. Cornelius Hopper, who joined the SMU Board in 1997 and served as its chair from 2000 to 2011. Dr. Hopper has been dedicated to addressing racial disparities in the nation’s healthcare system since 1971.

Past nominations have included volunteers with sex trafficking initiatives, faculty who organize medical mission/immersion trips, students who have founded student organizations, humanitarian work, creation of a prospective student mentorship program, other volunteerism on and off campus, and so much more. The list of past recipients is included below.


  • All faculty, staff, and students on all campuses. 

  • Exemplifies Samuel Merritt’s value to create a strong sense of belonging for all campus members and/or is working to reduce healthcare disparities in underserved communities.

Award and Recognition

  • Recipient will receive $1,000

  • Recipient will have their name(s) inscribed on a plaque that will be prominently displayed in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

  • Recipients are announced and presented during the Black History Month Celebration. 


*Email submissions must include:

  1. Name of the person(s) you are nominating
  2. No more than one page on the reasons why you are nominating that person. Please be as detailed as possible in your submission.

Past Recipients
2014| Pride Committee
2015| Che Abram, staff member
2016| Margrette Peterson, staff member
2017| Students: Carmen Craven (BRIDGE mentorship program), Mohammad Deen (Humanitarian work), Nga Dwork (BRIDGE mentorship program), and Shante Myers (BRIDGE mentorship program)
2018| Cynthia Stacy, RN, MSN, faculty member




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