Gunduz and Widener receive Inaugural University of Florida DEI Leadership Award

Congratulations to Dr. Aysegul Gunduz, associate professor, Fixel Brain Mapping Professor, UF Research Foundation Professor & UF Term Professor, and BME Ph.D. candidate Adrienne Widener, who are two of 16 honorees named to the University of Florida’s inaugural class of Gator Nation LeaDErshIp (DEI) Award winners, UF officials announced this week. 

The DEI awards recognize alumni, students, and university employees who champion diversity, equity, inclusion-related issues, and social justice efforts in their communities, industries, and on campus. 

This year’s honorees were chosen from many applicants representing dozens of companies, civic groups, and UF academic and support departments. Honorees were recognized in five categories: volunteer service, industry achievement, young alumni, philanthropic support, and the university community. The DEI Leadership celebration for 2022 took place on campus on May 20. 

“These DEI leaders represent the best of us — women and men who put words into action for the greater good,” said Brian Danforth, UF Alumni Association executive director. “They’re on the frontlines creating opportunities, building bridges, and tearing down walls. These 16 honorees, and thousands more Gators like them, truly are making the world a better place for all of us.” 

This year’s honorees are business executives and entrepreneurs, community activists, journalists, scientists, and attorneys.

Promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion is a longtime priority at the university. Colleges and departments across campus have created task forces and adopted programs to make UF a higher education leader in DEI while encouraging alumni and students to be advocates. 

The 169-year-old University of Florida has more than 450,000 alumni residing in every U.S. state and in more than 150 countries. The university has a long history of established programs in international education, research, and service and is one of only 17 public, land-grant universities in the prestigious Association of American Universities. It is ranked No. 5 in the most recent U.S. News and World Report’s list of public universities. The UF Alumni Association is responsible for a network of nearly 100 Gator Clubs, is actively involved with the recruitment of superior students, and hosts outreach and on-campus programs to connect alumni with their alma mater. To learn more, visit