Diversity and Inclusion Award (Est. 2020)

The Diversity and Inclusion Award is bestowed upon alumni by the University of Illinois Alumni Association on behalf of the University of Illinois. This award recognizes those alumni who have demonstrated a commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion through their professional and/or voluntary achievements and whose accomplishments support the UIAA’s goal of promoting diversity, cross-culturalism, open-mindedness and respect within the University of Illinois community and beyond.

2022 Recipient

  • Tyrone M. Phillips, ’12 FAA

    In 2012, Tyrone M. Phillips, ’12 FAA, joined his fellow U of I alumnus and theatre major Julian Parker, ’12 FAA, to co-found Chicago’s Definition Theatre, a culturally diverse theatre company dedicated to serving underrepresented communities in Chicago. As artistic director, Phillips—a first-generation Jamaican American—drives the company’s mission to create a diverse and inclusive space for all. In 2019, Phillips received $1.6 million from Chicago’s Neighborhood Opportunity Fund to break ground on a new black-box theatre and community center in the South Side neighborhood of Woodlawn. The space will provide professional development opportunities for future generations of theatre artists and serve as an incubator for businesses owned by Black, indigenous and other people of color, as well as women. Phillips was named one of the Chicago Tribune’s “Hot New Faces of 2015” and New City Stage’s 50 theatre leaders in 2022. Currently, he is an adjunct faculty member at DePaul University and the University of Illinois Chicago, and also serves on the board of directors for the League of Chicago Theaters. In the spring of 2023, Phillips will return to the University to direct The Royale with the Department of Theatre, at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

Past Recipients

  • 2020

    • Safiya Umoja Noble, MS ’09 IS, PHD ’12 IS