Skip to main content

Professor of fashion Dr. José Blanco F. is the recipient of the 2023 Davlin Diversity Leadership Award.

Presented by Dominican University’s Office for Justice, Equity and Inclusion, the annual award recognizes a faculty or staff member whose teaching and service embodies building anti-racist and equitable practices at Dominican, and who demonstrates a commitment to diversity and inclusion. The award is named for Sr. Mary Clemente Davlin, a professor of English known for her work in building a diverse and inclusive community at Dominican.

Blanco was nominated for the Davlin Award by Tara Segal, director of University Ministry.

“从自己的写作和编辑工作,到剧院, to his pedagogy, and, especially, his relationships with his students and colleagues, José’s life exemplifies Sr. Davlin’s spirit and legacy,” Segal wrote in her nomination. “José is remarkably dedicated to our mission to create a more just and humane society and he employs that dedication with great passion and compassion for our community.”

In his classes, which focus on fashion from across the globe and across history and modernity, Blanco encourages students to engage in conversations about their lived experiences as part of the subject being discussed. This opens the door to other students sharing their own stories and connections being made, he said.

Through projects that go beyond the creation of fashion, students gain a better understanding of themselves — and others.

“They are not just studying fashion history; they are studying the history of their families and ancestors,” Blanco explained. “When we study social and cultural aspects of fashion, they are studying their own ethnicity, race and gender identity.

“I think what people think we do in fashion is make pretty dresses,” he continued. “Yes, we make beautiful things, but we also talk about how what you put on your body is important in expressing your identity and who you are — or who you want to be.”

Blanco expressed a desire for more faculty to better understand the backgrounds of their students, rather than view them in “monolithic” ways based on their race or appearance. For example, Latinx students, he noted, embody many different cultures and experiences.

Blanco would also like to see the practice of equity as something that happens among everyone, every day.

“The Davlin Award obviously means a lot, but I have this belief that it should not be necessary,” he said. “Everyone should be equally invested in equity and social justice to the point that it would be impossible to give an award to just one person because all would be involved.”

Blanco, who is beginning his ninth year with Dominican University, will accept the Davlin Award and give a speech during the Caritas Veritas Symposium in September.