April 7, 2021
Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and Board Members:
Over the past twenty years, Gonzaga University has worked in numerous ways to increase racial, ethnic and cultural diversity among its students and to emphasize the importance of becoming a more inclusive and equitable campus for all of its members. This year, both internal and external incidents we have experienced – the desecration of the #BlackLivesMatter exhibit and racist stickers on campus; the November 8th Black Student Union Zoom bombing; and more recent attention on nationwide incidents of racism directed towards Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islanders, to name just a few – have underscored the fact that racism is real and incidents do occur, creating an environment that frequently instills fear, frustration, and fatigue among BIPOC students and community members. Cognizant of our structural biases as a PWI (Predominantly White Institution), the systemic racism that exists within our community and nation, the imperative to create a truly diverse, inclusive, and anti-racist campus culture and community must be a priority.
It is with this objective in mind that I today announce a set of changes and appointments reflective of an increased emphasis upon diversity, equity and inclusion at Gonzaga University.
For over 22 of his 33 years at GU, Dr. Raymond Reyes has served as Associate Provost (formerly Associate AVP) and Chief Diversity Officer (CDO). During his time in this role, Dr. Reyes has positively impacted the lives of innumerable students and colleagues, and the University has developed and advanced a large number of significant collaborative initiatives, ranging from countless educational opportunities and conferences, to development of programs (e.g., BRIDGE Orientation), creation of centers and institutes (e.g., Institute for Hate Studies), administration of climate surveys, and the creation of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI). Alongside his administrative responsibilities, Dr. Reyes has continued to teach courses, consult, and speak at national and international conferences.
Acutely aware of the need to continue developing relationships supportive of our diversity and inclusion efforts among benefactors and alumni, ongoing support for educational efforts among our staff, and support of the ongoing work of developing partnerships and initiatives under Ms. Wendy Thompson, Director of the Office of Tribal Relations, Dr. Reyes has accepted my invitation to move out of his role as Associate Provost and CDO join the Office of the President as Associate VP for Cultural Initiatives. In this role, Dr. Reyes will collaborate with the ODEI but also engage more deeply in work together with our office and with areas such as Advancement and Alumni Relations. In this capacity he will report to and work with Dr. Charlita Shelton, Chief of Staff to the President. I am very grateful to Dr. Reyes for his years of service as our Chief Diversity Officer, and thank him for his willingness to focus anew on these areas.
In turn I am pleased to announce that Dr. Robin M. Kelley, Associate Chief Diversity Officer, has accepted my invitation to serve as Gonzaga’s next Chief Diversity Officer (CDO). Dr. Kelley, who joined the university last July, has extensive higher education experience in developing and leading equity and diversity programs, initiatives and offices, has already made significant contributions to the advancement of Gonzaga’s diversity efforts, including the development of the University Council on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. I am hopeful that the widespread community support Dr. Kelley has thus far received in her role as Associate CDO will continue as she works with the Provost, Academic Deans, Student Affairs and colleagues throughout the institution to develop an institutional plan for diversity initiatives at Gonzaga University: building a more inclusive and equitable environment with and for all of our students, and increasing diversity among our faculty and staff.
The University’s diversity programs and initiatives span all areas of the institution, from academic to student affairs, and from Human Resources to Alumni Relations. For this reason, Provost González and I agree that the Chief Diversity Officer and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will now have a direct reporting relationship to the President, with a continued relationship to the Office of the Provost and membership on the Provost’s Council. In this manner, the work of ODEI will consistently animate and inform University leadership’s planning and discussions – reflective as it is of a top priority for Gonzaga University.
Please join with me in congratulating Dr. Kelley and Dr. Reyes as they assume their respective roles in service to our community, which took effect as of April 1, 2021.
Thayne M. McCulloh, D.Phil.