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New Faculty Award Will Recognize Commitment to Diversity in Honor of Late Professor J. Frank Yates


The impressive legacy of Professor J. Frank Yates, who passed away in November, will live on through a new faculty award at the Ross School of Business.

The J. Frank Yates Diversity and Inclusion Teaching Excellence Award will recognize a member of the Michigan Ross teaching faculty “who demonstrates a commitment to diversity and inclusion and makes a significant positive impact on the learning and personal growth of our students.” 

Professor Yates was a longtime member of the business school faculty known for his effective teaching, his impactful research and publications, and his commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Serving more than 50 years as a U-M faculty member, Professor Yates’ contributions were immeasurable. His groundbreaking research defined the field of judgment and decision making, and throughout his career, he was recognized with numerous awards and honors, including election to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Science. 

Professor Yates was also a visionary and unparalleled advocate for advancing diversity in higher education. In the late 1960s, he was instrumental in forming the University of Michigan Black Student Psychological Association. Then, as a graduate student in 1970, he envisioned a service to improve Black students’ academic success, which ultimately became the Comprehensive Studies Program; and a Black studies center, which became the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies at U-M. 

In 2005, he founded and directed the Michigan Ross Preparation Initiative, which is a thriving learning community designed to foster the excellence and success of undergraduate business students from economically distressed backgrounds or from racial or ethnic groups that historically have been underrepresented in business leadership. In recognition of these contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion at U-M, Professor Yates received the Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service award in 2019.