Thomas Nelson President Honored by Citizens’ Unity Commission

Thomas Nelson Community College President John T. Dever was among honorees during the annual Unity Awards ceremony hosted by the Citizens’ Unity Commission. The awards were established to acknowledge the contributions of individuals, organizations and initiatives that support diversity.

Dr. Dever was recognized for his commitment to healthy racial and cultural relations, including his support of the College’s Institute for Diversity and Inclusion (IDI).

Modeled after the City of Hampton’s Diversity College, IDI at Thomas Nelson allows 20 faculty and staff members per cycle to participate in an eight-week interactive series of workshops. The sessions explore topics such as resolving conflict in a multicultural environment; generational differences; work style preferences; and dispelling myths and misconceptions about various groups – gender, religious, racial, and disability.

Upon accepting his award presented by Hampton City Councilwoman Chris Snead, Dr. Dever recognized several Thomas Nelson IDI graduates who were in attendance during the June 12 event at the American Theatre in Phoebus. He also acknowledged the College’s Human Resources Director Joy Cooke for her department’s exceptional administration of IDI since the program began.

Snead, a Thomas Nelson alum, cited excerpts from Dr. Dever’s nomination form: “[He] has continuously shared his personal and professional views on why diversity awareness is ‘crucial to effective leadership and service at a community college.’ He encouraged faculty and staff to ‘aspire to become ambassadors for diversity and inclusion on the campus.’ And, ‘he has put resources and professional influence behind the importance of educating people and assuring that they have the tools to be effective in communicating and problem solving across the wide spectrum of human diversity.'”

The Citizens’ Unity Commission sponsors activities and events that bring diverse citizens together. Its 15-member slate of commissioners includes Thomas Nelson Human Services Department Head Ann Andrews. The commission offers diversity education for all businesses, schools, etc., dealing with community and workplace. For more information about the Commission or the awards, visit or email *protected email* .

For more information about IDI at Thomas Nelson, please contact Human Resources at 825-2728.