UW News

January 11, 2012

Gertrude Peoples presented with Odegaard Award for work on diversity

News and Information

Gertrude Peoples

Gertrude Peoples

Gertrude Peoples, a special assistant with the University of Washington football program and the former director of the Student-Athlete Academic Services, is the 2012 recipient of the UW Charles E. Odegaard Award.

The award will be presented at the 42nd annual Educational Opportunity Program Celebration, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 10, at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel.

Established in 1973, the Odegaard award honors individuals whose leadership in the community exemplifies the former UW presidents work on behalf of diversity. It is the only university and community-selected award, and is regarded as the highest achievement in diversity at the UW, according to Sheila Edwards Lange, vice president for minority affairs and vice provost for diversity.

“Gertrude has impacted the lives of thousands of UW student-athletes,” Edwards Lange said.  “We are indebted to her for the leadership, knowledge, and caring she brings to the University. For over 40 years, she has contributed to the success of our students and continues to do so today. Her commitment to connecting students of color with the UW community, as well as her loyal service as a mentor and advisor reflect the goals of the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity and the Educational Opportunity Program.”

Peoples began her career at UW in 1969 as an academic counselor with the Educational Opportunity Program. She became an academic advisor to UW student-athletes in 1970.

Peoples was charged with the task of helping ease racial tensions that were occurring in the athletic department at that time. Peoples also started the countrys first academic support office for college student athletes at a major university.

Peoples has worn several “hats” during her time in athletics, also working as a liaison between coaches and athletes, as well as families and upper campus. She has been a mentor to countless student-athletes.  Two athletic department awards have been named in her honor.

For more information on Celebration 2012 or the Charles E. Odegaard Award, please visit the Celebration web site.