Diversity. Equity. Inclusion.



A message from Liz Tovar


“This strong connection between athletics and the university will be a trailblazing model in higher education. It is an example that members of our Hawkeye community can provide leadership in multiple areas. Constructing a structure that is broad, welcoming, and connected is crucial to our success as it will allow us to deploy best practices throughout our community seamlessly.”



The H.A.W.K.E.Y.E. Pledge



Several of our student athletes below outlined what unity means to them.


“Change is never an easy thing to bring about. It requires difficult and open conversations to learn and grow from one another. Being able to listen and try to understand others’ experiences is a great starting point to implement changes in any setting. In the sport of football, there is 100+ individuals that come from all different backgrounds and walks of life. We all come together to become brothers and work to achieve a common goal. Unity is essential to success in a team setting.”


When you hear the word unity what are some other phrases that come to mind?

“Community, Togetherness.”

Why do we need unity?

“We need unity because when everyone stands together we’re stronger.”


“Unity allows for the Hawkeye community to rally under a banner of equality and respect for all. Unity serves as an integral pillar, upholding those who excel both inside and outside the classroom, further serving as a launchpad for success. Change is to stagnation as pain is to comfortability. One is undesirable at face value and one is easy, nice, soft etc. initiating change within the Hawkeye community is a task that requires you to push past adversity and embrace the beauty within your struggle. Every time you feel as if you are alone in your quest to change the world, you are taking the next step to introducing positive change into your community. These actions are further paving the way for those who follow in your foot steps achieving greatness.”


Why do we need Unity?

“Surely, it’s better to all be in this together! Truly though, people have so much value to bring, and everyone has inherent human worth. We will all be better off if everyone is represented, seen, heard, and loved.”


“We need unity because in order to fix the inequities in this world we must work together. If we provide a united front within our program, we can use our platform to inspire change and create better opportunities for future generations. When I hear the word unity, I always associate it with the word powerful, because unity is incredibly powerful. If all members of a team are on the same page it is powerful. If everyone is working towards achieving the same goal, it is powerful. The more of a focal point unity becomes in our world, the more powerful we become.”


“When I hear the word unity I think about the connectivity between people no matter their race, gender or ethnicity to better each other. We need unity because not only will it help yourself but it helps others around you be successful in life.”


Multicultural Focus Groups (MFG) is a robust Hawkeye committee that strives to offer minority student-athletes a safe and welcoming place to discuss issues and promote a sense of unity. Following are various affinity groups that they support.

Hawkeye Pride

The LGBTQ+ group focuses on providing a space where students and staff who identify in this community can speak together in a safe environment free of judgement.


The international Hawkeye student-athletes group is for international student-athletes and coaches focuses on the unique challenges that international students face in transitioning to the University of Iowa and a different country.


Black student-athletes can share their experiences with this group and feel a sense of community where their opinions, thoughts and feelings are valued and heard.


HERkys provides an opportunity for the women of Iowa Athletics to empower each other and strengthen connections.

Honoring Our Past. Celebrating Our Future. Black History Month 2022

Tomi Taiwo - Women's Basketball

What are your future plans?

I plan to go on to medical school and aspire to earn my MHA and become a primary care physician and maybe become a hospital administrator in the future.

Is there a Black pioneer that you draw inspiration from?

Maya Moore for sure is someone that I draw inspiration from. Her dedication to showing others what she cares about on and off the court along with her efforts to use her platform to fight for social justice is courageous. Maya Moore played for the Minnesota Lynx and won 4 WNBA championships but put basketball to the side to focus on fighting for social justice.

What makes you proud of your heritage?

I am very thankful for my African-American heritage. I am particularly very proud of my Nigerian heritage because of the diversified rich culture, ranging from assorted foods and clothes, to festivities associated with events such as weddings. It is such a beautiful culture and I love being from the Yoruba tribe.



Izaya Fullard - Baseball

What are your future plans?

I want to play baseball as long as possible. When my playing days are over, I want to work in the front office of a professional sports team.

Is there a Black pioneer that you draw inspiration from?

A Black baseball pioneer that has given me inspiration recently is Tim Anderson of the White Sox. The way he plays the game with passion and embraces who he is no matter what people say about him has given me the courage to do the same.

What makes you proud of your heritage?

The history all the people before me that had to make sacrifices and go through hard times to allow myself and future generations of Black people to be able to do whatever it is that they want. It gives me pride to embrace my ancestors and hopefully impact those after me!

Mike Daniels - Iowa Football Alum

Quotes from Levar Woods – Special Teams Coordinator 
“Mike did and does everything full speed. Whether that is being a husband, father, student, or football player. He only has two speeds: go or stop.”

“Mike wanted to be great, and he worked to be great in all areas. Mike outworked everybody, and he has a real passion for everything he does. No matter the situation, he always put a positive spin on it. Mike has a relentless pursuit of excellence.”


Ciara Smith- Field Hockey

What are your future plans?

“My future plans after graduating will be attending law school with the intent to be focused on sports managerial law. Being an athlete since I was young and now finishing out my Division 1 Field Hockey career; I’ve experienced all sides of the sports world as a biracial woman that I feel the need to enact change and impact athletes to take control of their path as a student-athlete.”

Is there a Black pioneer that you draw inspiration from?

“Marcella Benson was the first black women to play on the Iowa women’s field hockey team in the 70s. Knowing that history, I am reminded of the path and opportunity that was made possible for me, and it inspires me to want to do the same for all the female athletes after me. It also inspires me to continue to push for more diversity in female athletics, so that more have the opportunity to build upon the excellence and history of female student athletes.”

What makes you proud of your heritage?

“My mom reminded me everyday growing up when I struggled, “to stop trying so hard to fit in, because I was born to stand out.”” This statement reminds me daily to be proud of my blackness and biracial ethnicity, because my individual perspective as a mixed woman is valuable and necessary. Being biracial and proud has allowed me to see and experience the world from a perspective unlike most. I’m meant to stand out and being biracial adds that special piece to who I am as an individual, and that’s a lot to be proud of.”

Julien Gillum- Track & Field

What are your future plans?

“My future plans are to become an entrepreneur and open businesses that provide and give back to the community in which I love. I’ve already started a few online businesses to pursue this dream.”

Is there a Black pioneer that you draw inspiration from?

“I draw inspiration from Tyson Gay. We don’t run the same event, but he has gone through a lot of trials and tribulations throughout his career and life. He never let it stop him no matter what he is going through on and off the track.”

Amiya Jones- Volleyball

What are your future plans?

“After I get my Master’s in Social Work, I plan on getting my Master’s of Education and pursuing a personal goal of opening a charter school to serve black and brown students in their future collegiate endeavors, like my high school did for me.”

Is there a Black pioneer that you draw inspiration from?

“I was very appreciative of Flo Hyman who was a true pioneer for black women in volleyball.”

What makes you proud of your heritage?

“I love our culture; I love the way we always unionize and fight for not only ourselves but other marginalized groups. And of course, I love our food and music. Society doesn’t move without black creatives and pioneers.”

HERky’s – Women in Sports