Becker to receive leadership award for equity, inclusion efforts

Director of Athletics Keri Becker poses for a photo
Director of Athletics Keri Becker will receive the MI-ACE Distinguished Woman in Higher Education Leadership Award on June 14.
Image Credit: Amanda Pitts

The Michigan chapter of the American Council on Education (MI-ACE) Women's Network will honor Director of Athletics Keri Becker with its Distinguished Woman in Higher Education Leadership Award during MI-ACE’s conference on June 14.

MI-ACE is a professional association which promotes the professional development of women in higher education and advocates for equity and inclusion and a leadership voice for women in the decisions affecting Michigan’s higher education policies and practices.

The MI-ACE Distinguished Woman in Higher Education Leadership Award honors women who have made a significant contribution to the lives of colleagues, campuses, communities and the profession of higher education.

Along with her duties as director of athletics, Becker is one of the leads for the Partners in Action Against Racism Network for Grand Valley. She also serves as chair of the Boand and Rowe Endowment for the Advancement of Women in Sports and Physical Activity. 

Under her guidance, the Athletics Department launched the Laker Inclusion team to support, elevate, educate and activate change in the pursuit to ensure all Laker student athletes feel a sense of belonging within the department.

She was named by Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to the Michigan Task Force on Women in Sports. Becker is also a member of the leadership team of the GVSU Women’s Commission, working with the Gayle R. Davis Center for Women and Gender Equity and partnering with the Padnos International Center to develop study abroad opportunities for student athletes, particularly for those from underrepresented populations. 

“I am humbled and honored to be recognized for this award,” said Becker. “With Michigan ACE being known as the voice of women in Michigan higher education, it is an honor to stand alongside so many others doing this important work. 

“While the work I do within college athletics is so much about playing the game and winning the game, it is just as much about the impact athletics can have on an individual, a team and a community. There is a great opportunity with the platform we call intercollegiate athletics to help move the needle towards a more diverse, equitable and inclusive world.”

This year’s award recipients also include Teresa K. Woodruff, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Michigan State University, and Tonya Bailey, chief diversity officer at Lansing Community College. 

“I owe this honor to so many others who brought my ideas and visions to life,” said Becker. “This award is dedicated to my colleagues across campus, my athletic department staff, and my coaches and student-athletes who motivate me to reach beyond the day-to-day and represent them in this work of inclusion.”