Schultz said the students have strived to see beyond the comfort of their homes and lives and work to bring justice to everyone.
"They learned they could make a difference... I expect nothing less from those special students."
The Business Pathfinder Award this year goes to Mankato's two Hy-Vee stores.
"Hy-Vee has gone out of their way to provide a welcoming environment that promotes inclusiveness and support for all," said award presenter Barb Embacher of Greater Mankato Growth.
She said the stores have made a proactive commitment to being an equal opportunity employer, providing opportunities for those with physical and mental disabilities and those who are new to the country and the English language.
Hilltop Hy-Vee Manager Dan Olson said the stores' initiatives are simply the right thing to do.
"Everybody wants to go to a place where they can feel welcome and see people who are like themselves."
The Pathfinder Award program was cerated in 1986 and is overseen by the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Board. Recipients will be honored at the program's annual banquet Jan. 21.