Falk announces new VP for diversity

Dr. Leticia Smith-Evans ’99 will start her work in July.--Photo courtesy of the office of communications
Dr. Leticia Smith-Evans ’99 will start her work in July.–Photo courtesy of the office of communications

On Friday, President Adam Falk announced the appointment of Dr. Leticia Smith-Evans ’99 as the new vice president for institutional diversity and equity at the College.

She will be taking over the position from Mike Reed ’75, who left the College after the end of the 2013-2014 school year to become vice president for Institutional Initiatives at Dickinson College

Smith-Evans currently serves as the interim director of the Education Practice of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., where she has assisted in both ground level and organization work nationwide since 2008. She also teaches courses at Penn Law School covering the issues of race, education and their relationships with the law.

Smith-Evans graduated from the College in 1999 and is an active leader of the Williams Black Alumni Network. After graduating, she received both her J.D. and Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Wisconsin.

“Dr. Smith-Evans’ appointment is a coup for the College,” Director of the Davis Center Ferentz Lafargue said. “Her experience as a civil rights litigator and [with] education policy will prove invaluable in moving Williams’ equity efforts to the next phase. Dr. Smith-Evans has an excellent leadership record and will undoubtedly rally the entire Williams community to move this work forward.”

The selection committee solicited responses from the College community for input on what it would ideally want in the new appointment. From an extensive national pool of candidates, the committee – composed of nine faculty members and two members of the student body – selected four finalists. Each finalist visited the College, and based on feedback from both the committee and other members of the College community, Dr. Smith-Evans was selected to take over the position of VP of institutional diversity and equity.

The committee was chaired by Jim Kolesar, the vice president for public affairs, and also included Dean of the College Sarah Bolton, Vice President for Campus Life Steve Klass and Dean of the Faculty Denise Buell.

“Her experience is very specific to Williams and she also has an incredible set of national experiences and perspective,” Bolton said. “Her understanding of how you approach equity and excellence of experience in an educational setting has been very important nationally, and what was very compelling to me was her ability to speak of those things when she visited the College.”

The College looks forward to Smith-Evans’ wealth of experience in both the legal and educational fields. She will work to create a forward thinking campus community, as well as taking strides in advocating for greater equality at the College. Smith-Evans will assume the position of VP of institutional diversity and equity at the College on July 1.

“It is an honor and a privilege to return to Williams in this capacity,” Smith-Evans said. “I look forward to working diligently with all members of the community to ensure Williams is a diverse and equitable place.”