SAN MARCOS, Texas — Something to brag about for Bobcat Nation: Texas State University has been named among the nation's "best employers for diversity" by Forbes magazine.
For David Coonce, being able to work has not been easy.
He is a blind faculty member who has been dealing with Retrolental Fibroplasia since birth.
He's been working with Texas State for more than 26 years, and as assistant director for the Office of Disability Services, he is able to complete his daily work thanks to accommodations.
He uses a braille keyboard if he needs to jot down notes and helps other students arrange their personal accommodations.
"One of the most difficult things was to disclose my disability," Coonce said. "Do I do it in the interview or later on when needing accommodations?"
Fortunately, Texas State gave him that opportunity.
"I think this was the only job where having a disability actually helped," he said.
"It sends the message that this is a welcoming place, and we want them to be here," Dr. Stella Silva, the manager of Diversity Initiatives at Texas State, said.
Now, the university's efforts at being diverse in the hiring process are being recognized. Texas State ranked number 112 of 500 on Forbes "most diverse" workplaces list -- and fifth overall in the state of Texas.
Of the 500 employers on the list, Texas State was one of only two Texas higher education institutions represented and ranked higher then well-known companies like Toyota North America, JPMorgan Chase and Google.
"Representation is very important," Dr. Silva said. "They serve as role models."
She said when students see individuals in positions of leadership, they see themselves reflected.
Diversity on campus extends far beyond the workforce. Texas State University is currently a "Hispanic serving" institution, where 53 percent of the student body reflects a minority group and 37 percent identify as Hispanic -- closely mirroring the population of the state as a whole.
Coonce said having diverse representation in the workforce is important. It allows students to find mentors who lead by example, regardless of disabilities, language barriers or sexual orientation.
"Hopefully, we can be a role model to them in many ways," Coonce said.
For the full list of the Forbes "Best Employers For Diversity 2019," click here.