Interim President Marcia J. White has announced that Dr. Galen Gomes will become the new director of diversity and inclusion at Saint Rose. Yolanda Caldwell, who has led women’s leadership efforts at Saint Rose, will assume the role of chief diversity officer.
“We are fortunate to have such a strong team leading our work to build our capacity for inclusive excellence at Saint Rose. Dr. Shai Butler laid the foundation as our first chief diversity officer, and we could not have come this far without her voice and vision,” White said. “We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Gomes to this important student-serving position and are pleased that our students were such a central part of the hiring process. Working in conjunction with Yolanda Caldwell, who has become a key part of our leadership team at Saint Rose, they will expand upon one of our core founding values – creating an inclusive community.”
“We have a diverse campus where over 40% of our undergraduates are students of color and we continue to encourage diverse enrollment in our graduate programs,” White continued. “But creating a diverse community isn’t the end point. We must ensure that every member of our community feels included and is treated equitably. Dismantling systemic racism is a marathon not a sprint, but we are dedicated to running the race with courage and a strong sense of purpose.”
Gomes, who most recently served as senior staff associate for EOC Operations at SUNY University Center for Academic and Workforce Development, started at Saint Rose on November 9. 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. The director of diversity and inclusion is a position that has been vacant at Saint Rose since the spring and directly serves students and the Saint Rose community. Students were involved in revising the job description for that position to better meet their needs and were part of the hiring process.
Gomes has previously served as the director of opportunity programs at Maria College in Albany, New York, where he was responsible for the overall administration of the Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), the institutionally funded HOPE Program, and the Renaissance Scholars Program. He has worked as the parent and community coordinator for Brighter Choice Charter School in Albany and taught for three years as a multi-grade English teacher at the Green Tech High Charter School in Albany.
“I would like to thank President White for the opportunity to join the Saint Rose team, as well as Dr. Butler and Yolanda Caldwell for the enthusiastic welcome afforded me thus far,” Gomes said. “It is with great enthusiasm that I take on this integral role at Saint Rose. Working with an institution founded in the beliefs that it still stands on today, I look forward to helping Saint Rose meet the needs of today’s scholars and actualize the vision that it has for the future. I am excited to begin the work alongside the campus community.”
In addition to the hiring of Gomes, Interim President White has announced that Caldwell, director of the Women’s Leadership Institute and BOLD Women’s Leadership Network at Saint Rose, who has been moving forward the efforts for diversity, inclusion, and equity at Saint Rose since the summer, will now serve as the College’s chief diversity officer while retaining her roles in women’s leadership. This allows Butler, vice president for student development, who has served the College as the chief diversity officer at Saint Rose since 2007, to focus on her vision for student development. Butler recommended the change, and Caldwell will bring her talents and vision to the president’s cabinet.
“It was always my hope when Yolanda joined the institution that she would one day be afforded the opportunity to assume this important role and continue to build upon the work that I led from 2007 through today. I am grateful to President White for accepting my recommendation,” Butler said. “During my time as CDO, I have been blessed to work with an amazing group of dedicated students, faculty, staff, alumni, and administrators. We have started new programs and initiatives, raised over $200,000, increased student and faculty diversity, and assessed and made targeted improvements to the campus climate for diversity. It is now time to build toward the future and Yolanda and Galen have the expertise, talent, and ability to innovate toward the second century.”
Caldwell began her professional journey as a management intern at Prudential Insurance of America, Inc. She served on the team to take Prudential public and progressed through a number of assignments of increasing scope and responsibility, including vice president – Employee Service Center. Her professional experience also includes serving as associate director of career services at Seton Hall University and a professional staff member in the Office of the Albany County Executive. In 2020, Caldwell was honored with the International Leadership Association’s Outstanding Practice with Broad Impact Award, which “recognizes excellence in the practice of an individual whose advocacy, commitment, or actions in support of women in leadership has influenced individuals, audiences, organizations, or broad communities.”
Caldwell is a graduate of Seton Hall University with a B.S. in Marketing and SUNY Empire State University with a M.A. in Social and Public Policy, with a graduate certificate in Non-Profit Management. She has served as president for multiple community-based organizations, including an elected seat as a library trustee within the Upper Hudson Library System. Currently, she serves as board president for the Albany Center for Economic Success and is a board member for multiple organizations.
“I am energized by the opportunity to build upon the work that Dr. Shai Butler, our inaugural chief diversity officer has started, and thank our president, Marcia White, for this appointment at such a pivotal moment in time,” Caldwell said. “I look forward to partnering with Galen and working to build our capacity for diverse, equitable, and inclusive excellence by practicing active listening, speaking from the heart, and acting with our students, administrators, faculty, and staff. This will help us grow into a model of inclusivity that affords all members of our community a sense of safety, respect, and belonging.”