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Interim President Marcia J. White sent the following message to students and employees on Friday, October 30.

Dear Colleagues and Students,

This election year is one of the most unusual in our history, and we have experienced an intense amount of information, especially in the past few months.

No matter who is elected, your day-to-day life is here at Saint Rose. At times like these, I feel it is important to underscore our identity. Standing on the values of our founders, we are a campus that strives for inclusive excellence. That means, appreciating members of our community for our commonalities and our differences, helping the dear neighbor by fighting for equity, and rejecting hate.

I hope that all of you have made your voting plans or have already voted, have your masks ready to wear at the polls, and are ready to do your part to participate in our democracy.

The upcoming election was just one of the important discussions we had today as part of the Campus Conversation on Diversity and Inclusion, where I made some exciting announcements.

We have hired our new director of diversity and inclusion, a position that has been vacant since the spring and directly serves our students, and our community. Dr. Galen Gomes, currently the senior staff associate for EOC operations for the University at Albany, will start on November 9. Dr. Gomes holds his Ed.D. in executive leadership from St. John Fisher College, his master’s in curriculum and instruction from Boston College, and his B.A. in English and African American studies from the University at Albany. I am pleased to welcome Dr. Gomes to our community, and I know you will be as well.

I also announced that Yolanda Caldwell, director of the Women’s Leadership Institute and BOLD Women’s Leadership Network at Saint Rose, who has stepped up in recent months to help lead the efforts for diversity, inclusion, and equity at Saint Rose, will now serve as the College’s chief diversity officer. (Yolanda will retain her roles in women’s leadership.) This allows Dr. Shai Butler, vice president for student development, who has served the College so well as the chief diversity officer at Saint Rose, to focus on her other responsibilities as VP for student development. Dr. Butler recommended the change, and Yolanda will bring her talents and vision to the president’s cabinet.

I highly recommend that you make time to visit the exhibit currently in the College’s Esther Massry Gallery through November 21 that Dr. Robert Shane shared with us in today’s conversation. “Engage: Artists in Visual Dialogue” is an inclusive exhibition curated by Stephen J. Tyson, MFA, that celebrates diverse heritages that spans 91 years and features 22 artists of diverse ethnicities and backgrounds. Visitors must call the gallery phone at 518.337.2390 to gain entrance to the building. To learn more about the exhibit, or to fill out the required screening questionnaire, please visit the gallery’s website.

These announcements and events are important because they demonstrate that we are walking the talk. As we have said many times, addressing systemic racism is a marathon, not a sprint. Diversity, equity, and inclusion have to be part of the lens we use to view all of our work at the College. We are blessed to have tremendous leaders who possess a passion and commitment to the work, starting with Dr. Butler and continuing now with Yolanda Caldwell, and our new director Dr. Gomes. This is a transformative moment for the College, and we will remain dedicated to our efforts to ensure that every member of our Saint Rose community feels at HOME.