BBI Chairman Peter Blanck Appointed to Syracuse University Search Committee for Chief Diversity Officer

Chancellor Syverud Appoints Members of Search Committee for Chief Diversity Officer

November 30, 2018

Syracuse University News by By Kathleen Haley

Peter BlanckChancellor Kent Syverud today announced the members of a search committee for a chief diversity officer (CDO). The creation of a CDO position was one of the recommendations of the Chancellor’s Workgroup on Diversity and Inclusion to strengthen the University’s diversity initiatives.

“With this next step, we are moving further toward fulfilling the recommendations of the Workgroup on Diversity and Inclusion. This new position will help us continue to focus on and broaden our initiatives to create a more welcoming and diverse community,” Syverud says. “The chief diversity officer will help guide us there and bring us together in our shared work across campus.”

The chief diversity officer, who will report directly to the Chancellor, will serve on the Chancellor’s Executive Team and provide executive leadership, oversight and vision in the administration of services, programs, policies and procedures related to advancing Syracuse University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

In June, Chancellor Syverud appointed Professor Keith A. Alford to the post of interim chief diversity officer, effective July 1. Alford is an associate professor and chair of the Falk College’s School of Social Work.

In its work to find a permanent CDO, the 12-member committee will work with the executive search firm Witt/Kieffer.

The committee will be co-chaired by Dolan Evanovich, senior vice president for enrollment and the student experience, and LaVonda Reed, associate provost for faculty affairs and professor of law.

Other search committee members are the following:

  • Peter Blanck, University Professor and chairman, Burton Blatt Institute
  • Yousr Dhaouadi, graduate student representative
  • James Duah-Agyeman, director, Office of Multicultural Affairs
  • Bea González, vice president for community engagement
  • khristian kemp-delisser, director, LGBT Resource Center
  • Yingyi Ma, director of Asian/Asian American Studies and associate professor of sociology, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs
  • Suzette Meléndez, teaching professor; director, Children’s Rights and Family Law Clinic; and faculty director of inclusion initiatives, College of Law
  • Michael Tick, dean and professor of drama, College of Visual and Performing Arts
  • Brooke Waldon, undergraduate student representative
  • Barry L. Wells, special assistant to the Chancellor

About Syracuse University

Syracuse University is a private, international research university with distinctive academics, diversely unique offerings and an undeniable spirit. Located in the geographic heart of New York state, with a global footprint, and nearly 150 years of history, Syracuse University offers a quintessential college experience. The scope of Syracuse University is a testament to its strengths: a pioneering history dating back to 1870; a choice of more than 200 majors and 100 minors offered through 13 schools and colleges; nearly 15,000 undergraduates and 5,000 graduate students; more than a quarter of a million alumni in 160 countries; and a student population from all 50 U.S. states and 123 countries. For more information, please visit

About the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI)

BBI reaches around the globe in its efforts to advance the civic, economic, and social participation of people with disabilities, with offices in Syracuse, NY, New York City, Washington, D.C., Lexington, KY, and Atlanta, GA. BBI builds on the legacy of Burton Blatt, a pioneering disability rights scholar, to better the lives of people with disabilities. For more information about BBI, visit: